Malaysian sport minister slaps wrists of cycling federation over support for Pat McQuaid
MNCF action "has to benefit the development of Malaysian cycling" says minister
The Malaysian cycling federation (MNCF)has had its wrists slapped by the country’s sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin over its involvement in an attempt to change the rules governing presidential elections in cycling’s governing body the UCI.
“I don’t wish to interfere in the MNCF’s choice of who it wants to support in the UCI elections,” said Khairy. “But I wish to remind them that the focus of their efforts and priorities should be towards the wellbeing and development of our national cyclists and the events under their care, like our premier event Le Tour de Langkawi.”
The MNCF has tabled a motion for the UCI Congress in Florence on September 27 that would permit any two national federations to nominate a candidate for the UCI presidency. If approved, the rule change would be back-dated to allow Thailand and Morocco to nominate incumbent UCI president Pat McQuaid.
Mr McQuaid has so far been unable to secure an undisputed nomination. His home federation, Cycling Ireland, initially put him up for the job, but that nomination was quashed on procedural grounds and a vote of Cycling Ireland’s member clubs declined to support him.
The Swiss cycling federation then stepped in to nominate Mr McQuaid, but that nomination is subject to a legal challenge from three members of Swiss Cycling, financially supported by Jaimie Fuller of the clothing company Skins. Mr Fuller, founder of the Change Cycling now group, has been a vocal critic of Mr McQuaid and the UCI’s handling of the Lance Armstrong affair.
Russian cycling federation president Igor Marakov has threatened to use all possible legal means to overturn the rule change if it gets up, and Mr McQuaid’s rival for the presidency, Brian Cookson of British Cycling, has called it “an attempt to change the rules during the game.”
Khairy acknowledged the debate that has surrounded this UCI presidential election, and reminded the MNCF of its primary role.
“As it is, this is a highly controversial issue, so I would not want to interfere in the political choices of the MNCF, or whoever they wish to support in this elections. They must remember that whatever they do, it has to benefit the development of Malaysian cycling,” he said.