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Irishman seeking third term at head of governing body insists UCI Congress will determine who gets to lead it

UCI president Pat McQuaid has warned his rival in next month’s presidential election, Brian Cookson, that he will be unable to avoid going head to head in a vote at the UCI Congress in Florence next month.

Earlier today, Swiss Cycling confirmed that it had withdrawn its nomination, announced in May ahead of McQuaid’s candidacy being rejected by Cycling Ireland’s members, for him to stand for a third term.

As matters stood on 29 June, the closing date for nominations, today’s withdrawal of Swiss Cycling’s nomination should have meant the end of the road for McQuaid’s hopes of being re-elected.

However, the revelation by the UCI late last month that the Malaysian Federation and Asian Continental Confederation had proposed a rule change – and one that controversially would be applied retroactively - allowing a candidate to be nominated by any two national federations has given the UCI president a lifeline, with his candidacy backed by the Thai and Moroccan federations.

In a press release issued this evening, McQuaid said: “This election will be decided by the voting delegates at the UCI Congress in Florence, Italy on September 27th despite attempts by him and those who support his campaign to eliminate me from the contest.

"My other nominations from the Thai Cycling Association and the Féderation Royal Marocanine are valid and were all received in accordance with the UCI rules by the designated closing date.”

The decision of Swiss Cycling, the national federation of the country the UCI is based in and where McQuaid lives, to nominate him had been the subject of a legal challenge by parties including another Swiss resident, Jaimie Fuller, chairman of the compression clothing company, Skins.

An arbitration panel had been due to rule on the validity of the nomination tomorrow, although Swiss Cycling’s sudden withdrawal of it renders the legal process redundant.

The national governing body risked facing significant legal costs if the decision went against and McQuaid insists it was that prospect that led to the federation’s decision to backtrack.

"This was apparently a snap decision in the face of mounting pressure from the company who financed the challenge to my Swiss nomination and whose actions threatened to condemn the Swiss Cycling Federation to financial ruin had it proceeded to an arbitration hearing and lost. 

“I would remind Brian Cookson and his campaign supporters that the UCI Congress will ultimately decide who should lead the UCI for the next four years.

“Federations all over the world want me to stand for re-election. I am standing as a candidate for re-election. That is not going to change.

“I am calling on Brian Cookson and his campaign supporters to accept that and to put an end to their concerted attempts to refuse the Congress a choice between two candidates,” McQuaid added.

Some may see a certain irony in McQuaid, accused of seeking to abuse the electoral process by Cookson and others, now seeking to invoke it in his favour.

On Twitter this evening, Cookson himself said: "It is rather strange to be challenged on democracy by Pat McQuaid - let's have a proper democratic election based on the agreed UCI rules."

The proposed amendment to the rules governing the election have been challenged by lawyers acting for British Cycling, of which Cookson is president.

Yesterday, a legal opinion from lawyers engaged by the UCI suggested that the proposed changes did not breach Swiss law and were allowed by the UCI constitution.

Ultimately, the proposed rule change – and the retroactive aspect of it – need to be adopted by the UCI Congress in Florence next month.

Should it be rejected, Cookson, who had expressed his own views this morning on Swiss Cycling’s decision, would be become president by default.

However, already suggestions are being made that he should immediately step aside and allow an election with more than one candidate to take place.

Five weeks from the vote, it seems we’re still a long way from the arguments over the electoral process being resolved.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

28 comments

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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Why on Earth would Cookson step aside if elected? Yeah he might not be perfect but he was the only person to step up against the tyranny of McQuaid. Why should someone else get to challenge Cookson after he defeats the incumbent?

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Pat does not need the rule change for his nominations from Thailand and Morocco to be valid. He only needs a sympathetic interpretation of the current rules.

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philtregear [115 posts] 3 years ago
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seems to me that MacQuaid makes up the rules as he goes along. first Ireland, then Switzerland, now Thailand. Perhaps he should go where his overinflated ego demands and organize the first tour de mars. You can do it Pat: prologue round the dark side of the moon , then a quick transfer across the solar system to the red planet. Think of the hills! also, cycling in such atmospheres will be a sure way to confuse those W*****s from WADA and the sunday times. You could even get LA back on the payroll. Go Pat! To infinity and beyond!

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FMOAB [268 posts] 3 years ago
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Get the garlic and silver bullets ready

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pwake [395 posts] 3 years ago
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One question I would have is 'Why, in the first place, would the Thai and Moroccan federations nominate him before the June 30th deadline, if he was already nominated by the Irish and Swiss?' It stinks to high heaven!!
It would also be nice to see a retraction of his statement that the withdrawal of the Swiss nomination was 'utter bullshit'  4

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Pauldmorgan [228 posts] 3 years ago
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This isn't so bad: if McQuaid wins then everyone can rightly conclude that the whole shooting match is corrupt and the breakaways can begin.

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ontheroad [14 posts] 3 years ago
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Assuming it will be a two-horse race, has anyone assessed how the voting is likely to go?

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 3 years ago
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This guy is, without doubt, on the strongest drugs in sport.

@ontheroad, if I recall correctly (and my memory of this is patchy), there are 42 votes to be had, and a simple majority (as opposed to 2/3rds or whatever) is required to win. BC appears to be assured of approx 16 votes due to support from Europe and Africa. PMcQ has the support of Asia, which is roughly the same number. No-one is sure which way the Americas will vote.

Given the amount of observed skullduggery and corruption though, I would like to know who administers the election and counts the votes, and whether they are truly independent.

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Not KOM [79 posts] 3 years ago
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Pat Macquaid has gone nuts ... He appears to have a classic narcissistic personality, with major selfish tendencies. If he can't win the game, even by cheating repeatedly, then he's going to throw over the table and stop anyone taking part.

And what's PmQ going to do post election? Try and repair the damage he's done? Or give all the kick-backs to his friends? Does he not realise that he's destroying the credibility of his sport?

Where is the IOC in this? Why aren't they pointing out that this is not democratic, accountable ... or frankly, sane?

Jesus wept.

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Jonathan Knight [18 posts] 3 years ago
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Do you guys at Road CC specifically search for the most smarmy looking pictures of Pat that they just make you want to punch him in the face.

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benjam [48 posts] 3 years ago
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bring back the one of him in the shades at the tour of langkawi I say. Smarmy dial to 11.

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therevokid [972 posts] 3 years ago
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oh good grief ..... if this wasn't real life I'd have
put money on it being a docu-drama of some sort created
by a dodgy cable channel company !!!

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dp24 [201 posts] 3 years ago
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Trying to have a sensible debate on the election process with Pat McQuaid is like playing chess with a pigeon.

You might be be a chess grandmaster, but the pigeon just knocks over all the pieces, sh*ts on the board and then struts around triumphantly.

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Westy [11 posts] 3 years ago
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1. PMQ desperately wanted to be re-elected unopposed, and was clearly pissed off when Brian Cookson was nominated.
2. PMQ was president through his nomination 4 and 8 years ago by his home federation, Ireland. So it clearly should be them that re-nominate. They have spectacularly not agreed to do so.
3. A sympathetic interpretation of the rules might just have allowed the Swiss nomination to stand, but clearly there was enough legal doubt about that to cause them to withdraw it for fear of the financial consequences.
4. It would take a very long stretch of the imagination to consider either of his two new nominations as valid under the present rules, especially as anyway the hard copy nominations were not received by the closing date (emails only, I understand).
5. Therefore his only real remaining option is the proposed retroactive rule change, a bizarre proposal in any circumstances anywhere. Its very doubtful that the retroactive component will be ratified as it requires a two thirds majority.
6. He is such a self centred stupid man, seemingly devoted to using his Swiss lawyers to justify a fart in a strong wind, that he will draw this affair out to its bitter end. It'll probably end up in the courts, again - lets hope that he will have to pay though, not the UCI, as I don't see why the UCI funds should be used for one candidate and not the other - actually they should be used for neither of them, another can of worms to be unravelled.

PMQ has to be the worst thing to have happened to our sport for a generation, equally as bad as LA. He has made the governing body a laughing stock, derided around the world - I guess he would call that globalisation.

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Matt_S [281 posts] 3 years ago
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"Federations all over the world want me to stand for re-election"

What I can't understand is this: Given I have not heard a single fan, rider, or team official that has come out in support of McQuaid, what possible reason could any of these federations have for wanting to continue the status quo gravy train of corruption and li...

Oh right. Sorry. Carry on.

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pmr [198 posts] 3 years ago
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hahaha, true, the man has gone way beyond delusional now.
Thailand and Morocco - are you fookin serious? Talk about scraping the barrel this man really is clueless and has absolute zero respect for the sport, its plain to see to virtually every cycling fan and sports fan across the globe that cycling needs change at the top, even if he wasn't complacent with the scandals of the past - he still has to go because he was at the helm when they occurred - he lost all dignity long ago now and the end cant come quick enough for this debacle.

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Sim1 [57 posts] 3 years ago
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deleted

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Sim1 [57 posts] 3 years ago
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jarredscycling wrote:

Why on Earth would Cookson step aside if elected? Yeah he might not be perfect but he was the only person to step up against the tyranny of McQuaid. Why should someone else get to challenge Cookson after he defeats the incumbent?

Simon's referring to some tweets between some people on Twitter last night.

Simon: I dont mean to be funny but claiming that that 'some people' are suggesting etc....gives the impression that there's some kind of call that has some authority behind it. The reality is that it was just a discussion between some tweeters. I'm surprised to see this presented in an article in this way.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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@Westy.
On your point 3: The challenge to the Swiss nomination was based on matters of procedure, not solely on whether the Swiss Federation was "the Federation of the Candidate".
On point 4: Law firm Baker and McKenzie, acting for the UCI rather than Pat McQuaid*, say that a nomination made before the deadline by email is valid.

Obviously the validity of Pat's nominations can be disputed. But it looks like this would have to take place outside of the UCI, either in the Courts, or at the CAS.

*Stop that laughing at the back.

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JonD [420 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

3. A sympathetic interpretation of the rules might just have allowed the Swiss nomination to stand, but clearly there was enough legal doubt about that to cause them to withdraw it for fear of the financial consequences.

Referenced on another forum:
http://gerard.cc/2013/08/21/race-to-the-bottom/

It gets interesting where it talks about Chassot:

"It is clear from their meeting minutes that the Swiss Cycling board did not agree to nominate McQuaid in their meeting, but rather to wait a little and look into it further. The federation president, Richard Chassot, then announced the nomination."

Read on re Chassot's conflict of interests..

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Whitters1986 [6 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm curious, does anyone know of any pro-McQuaid blogs or articles?

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Westy [11 posts] 3 years ago
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Fair point Rumpo, but I've been told that Swiss Law 'prefers' paper documents sufficiently to mount a challenge. Baker and McKenzie are simply offering an opinion, not a ruling, and another post from a lawyer says that their paper smacks of a pre-judged view and is written to provide a validation in their view only. Apparently it also contains a number of caveats which have conveniently been ommitted from the jiurnalistic reports. Cheers.

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Westy [11 posts] 3 years ago
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Thanks for that link, JonD, its another very good article from a well informed author.

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Sudor [188 posts] 3 years ago
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If UCI reps vote in the rule change it's a foregone conclusion that McQuid will be re- elected. McQuid has spent years building a power base outside cycling a traditional European context - now he's calling in the favours.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Westy wrote:

Fair point Rumpo, but I've been told that Swiss Law 'prefers' paper documents sufficiently to mount a challenge. Baker and McKenzie are simply offering an opinion, not a ruling, and another post from a lawyer says that their paper smacks of a pre-judged view and is written to provide a validation in their view only. Apparently it also contains a number of caveats which have conveniently been ommitted from the jiurnalistic reports. Cheers.

That's what I'm saying! If you read the report in full (link at inrng), it's quite apparent that the UCI sought validation of their position rather than clarification of the rules.
The UCI will interpret it's constitution to Pat McQuaid's advantage until forced to do otherwise by an outside Agency.

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Westy [11 posts] 3 years ago
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Yep, agreed Rumpo. Interesting that reports coming out of Switzerland this lunchtime indicate that the financial issues were not a consideration, according to Chassot, because McQuaid offered to pay the costs himself. It seems that real support for PMQ didn't really exist, and that the remainder of the committee simply told him they would not support the so-called 'unanimous' nomination. He tried to block the re-vote, and failed, thank goodness  1

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Pat McQuaid offering to pay the Swiss Federation's costs has to be the latest piece of BS. Jaimie Fuller had to put up the money for both sides before the case could be heard. If there was nothing wrong with the nomination wouldn't Chassot have welcomed his day in Court? The money would only have been an issue had he lost.

And now Chassot has resigned, making paranoid ramblings about "a small coup" that would do credit to Pat himself. Wind of change? (Or just another fart in the wind...?)

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bontana [10 posts] 3 years ago
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I wish Pat McQuade had a little insight as to how comical this all looks to the public. Not nominated by his home nation, nor the place he lives but wait a minute....thailand and morocco will do. He is making himself look like an absolute idiot, a laughing stock and just not credible at all. Im amazed he has not withdrawen from the process and tried to save some pride. Stunning stuff.