UCI rejects call for election rule change arbitration from five national federations
Executive board say Pat McQuaid did not take part in discussion or decision
In a move that will surprise no-one the UCI has rejected a call by the national federations of the United States, Canada, Algeria, Finland and Russia earlier this week for the validity of the current UCI president, Pat McQuaid's nomination in the UCI presidential election to be referred to the Court for Arbitration in Sport.
A statement from cycling's world governing body issued on Friday evening said:
"The UCI Executive Board has declined a request to submit a question regarding the application of Article 51.1 of the UCI Constitution to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The UCI Executive Board, having considered and recognised the UCI Constitution and the Presidential nominations properly submitted under it, has ruled unanimously that it was for the Congress, as the highest authority of the UCI – rather than CAS – to consider all aspects related to the elections.
The request for arbitration was made by six out of the 178 national federations. These federations had asked the UCI to submit the following question to CAS: “Under Article 51.1 of the UCI Constitution, which federation(s) may submit a valid nomination for a prospective candidate for office of President of UCI?”
Pat McQuaid, who is a member of the Executive Board, absented himself and did not take part in the discussions or decision."
McQuaid who is standing against Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling, in the election at the end of this month was originally nominated by his home federation, Cycling Ireland - when after opposition from members that nomination was withdrawn on the grounds of a procedural irregularity, he secured a nomination by the Swiss Federation - his country of residence, that too was withdrawn in the face of legal action and a split amongst the Swiss leadership.
It then emerged that McQuaid had also been nominated by the Morrocan and Thai cycling federations - he claims to be a member of both, and according to a legal opinion prepared on behalf of the UCI, such nominations were made in time and comply with the governing body’s constitution.
In July the UCI announced that its World Congress in Florence would vote on an amendment to Article 51.1 of its constitution that had jointly been proposed by the Malaysian Cycling Federation and its continental governing body, the Asian Cycling Confederation.
Currently, that rule states: "the candidates for the presidency shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate;" the proposed amendment would add that they could also be nominated by “two federations other than the federation of the candidate." It was subsequently alleged that the amendment was drafted by two senior members of staff at the UCI.
Writing to the UCI earlier this week six natinal federations had called on the world governing body to refer the question of whether McQuaid's candidacy was or was not in accordance with the UCI to the Court for Arbitration in Sport. Despite the UCI's rejection of that proposal their has to be a strong likelihood that the CAS will become involved in the electoral process.
Voting on the amendement to Article 51.1 is due to take place just hours before the presidential election and while it is by no means certain that McQuaid will win it - he needs a two thirds majority which he currently doesnt' look to have - it is by no means impossible that he will win and proceed and that his name will go forward to the vote. if it does, and he wins it is even more certain that the result will be challenged in the courts and McQuaid's opponents look to have deeper pockets then him.
This latest move in the battle for the UCI's top job while not unexpected once again underlines the extremely bitter nature of the electorial contest. Whoever wins will have an enormous job to do not only in repairing the reputation of an organisation that was already heavily tarnished by suggestions of it's passive complicity in the various drugs scandals to hit the sport but which now also see powerful national federations alienated from the global governing body whoever wins.