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Cookson also agrees pay cut as work starts on implementing his manifesto

Brian Cookson’s election pledge to rebuild credibility in world cycling’s governing body took a big step forward today as the first UCI Management Committee meeting he has chaired since becoming president last month agreed what are described as “a number of important measures aimed at restoring trust” in the organisation - including a pay cut for Cookson.

Those include the setting up of an independent commission to look into allegations of wrongdoing at the UCI, including the United States Anti-Doping agency's assertion it helped cover up doping in relation to the Lance Armstrong scandal, and an audit of the UCI’s anti-doping procedures prior to them being made fully independent, as Cookson has promised.

Last week, it was revelaed that private investigators had entered UCI headquarters immediately afer Cookson's election to secure computer records that could be used in evidence for the independent commission, which Cookson has said is likely to involve the World Anti-Doing Agency (WADA).

Meanwhile, Martin Gibbs, former policy and legal affairs director at British Cycling, has become the UCI’s Director General, replacing Christophe Hubschmid, removed from his post earlier this month in the wake of Cookson’s election victory and a close ally of former president Pat McQuaid.

Measures approved at the extraordinary meeting of the Management Committee include:

A full audit of the systems and controls currently employed by the UCI’s anti-doping operations to ensure that they are working efficiently. The audit will also be used as a basis to create a clear roadmap for setting up an independent UCI anti-doping operation in 2014.

The broad principles under which it intends to move forward with the implementation of an Independent Commission which will look into allegations of past wrongdoing at the UCI and the extent and roots of doping in cycling. The objectives of the Independent Commission are in line with the manifesto of Brian Cookson, to re-establish trust in the UCI and restore confidence in the sport of cycling. UCI will continue its discussions with WADA and other stakeholders to finalise the Independent Commission's framework.

The establishment of an International Development Commission to review the wide-ranging work of the UCI in this field including the role of Global Cycling Promotion and the World Cycling Centre. The Commission will report its initial findings and recommendations to the next UCI Management Committee in January 2014.

Supporting the new Women’s Cycling Commission, chaired by UCI Vice President Tracey Gaudry, in its work to appoint members and establish objectives including 2014 recommendations by the end of 2013 on delivering a step change in women’s cycling. Further details on this will be available on the UCI website this week.

Cookson has also made details of his salary public, in line with his pre-election pledge to bring transparency to the role if he became president. His salary of 340,000 Swiss francs (£236,000) is 110,000 Swiss francs (£76,000) less than the package in place at the time of the election.

As the UCI is a non-profit international sporting organisation, that salary will be tax-free under Swiss law.

Following the meeting, Cookson said: “Today’s Management Committee meeting was an important moment for the UCI as we put in place a number of measures to restore trust in the UCI and ensure our great sport is able to move forward.

“I would like to thank my Management Committee colleagues for the professional and collegiate way they approached today’s meeting and I am encouraged by the strong sense of common purpose.
 


“We have made important decisions on women’s cycling, international development, the establishment of a fully independent anti-doping unit and an independent commission to look into allegations of UCI wrong-doing.

“We have also started the process of modernising the UCI's constitution. 



"There is a huge amount of work to do in the coming months and beyond, but I am excited by the passion and support my colleagues have shown for implementing a real programme of change for the good of cycling.”

Last week it emerged that even as the votes were being counted at the presidential election in Florence, more than 400km to the north, private investigators from the firm Kroll, which specialises in fraud and recovery of computer records, were awaiting authorisation from Cookson to enter UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland in the event he were elected.

The Financial Times [£] said that “within minutes” of the result being declared, that authorisation had arrived and the investigators entered the premises to ensure that computer records and IT equipment were secured before there was an opportunity to destroy or remove anything.

Cookson confirmed that Kroll employees had entered the premises, saying: "They had to secure the computers. They took all the back-up tapes and all the IT stuff. They were available to make sure that nothing was destroyed that shouldn't be destroyed.

“I don’t like to think there was anything that serious,” he added, “but we had to take the precaution.”

Some subsequent reports, including one in the Guardian, claimed that “sources close to Cookson have confirmed that among the equipment seized was McQuaid's laptop,” a detail not mentioned at all in the original story in the Financial Times.

McQuaid has told Cycling News that the claim had no foundation, sending it a message on Thursday that read: ““That story is bullshit - my laptop was with me in Florence and came back to Switzerland with me - a week later I gave it to the UCI to clear my UCI files and the laptop is now back with me!!”

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.

10 comments

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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At least he disclosed his salary, a small but significant step in the right direction. I can't imagine a non-profit not disclosing all of its finances including salaries

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ragtimecyclist [158 posts] 3 years ago
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It's very easy to be a bit cynical and world weary about all this, but contrast everything Cookson says above, with the kind of self serving nonsense spouted by his predecessor - the UCI suddenly looks and sounds completely different; it sounds relevant and up to date.

Off to a good start I say.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 3 years ago
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Great start.. keep it up

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Tripod16 [162 posts] 3 years ago
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Finally moving forward...

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step-hent [723 posts] 3 years ago
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Woohoo! Someone at last *talking* sense at the UCI. Fingers crossed it is all followed through, whatever the outcome of the investigations.

Just a thought, but wouldn't the moment of election be a bit late for seizing all the files? If I were McQuaid and I'd been covering up doping positives AND I'd been stupid enough to keep records of it, then I would have started getting rid of them as soon as it looked like there might even be a second candidate for the Presidency. Not that there's anything Cookson could have done about that, but it does seem more of a gesture than a useful practical step.

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antonio [1142 posts] 3 years ago
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Hardly a drop in salary in real terms, I can't see that he ever was on the same scale of remuneration at British Cycling.

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JonD [426 posts] 3 years ago
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step-hent wrote:

Just a thought, but wouldn't the moment of election be a bit late for seizing all the files?

Possibly, but it's not as if he had any power to do it earlier. Cleaning up mail servers/IT systems/backups selectively is probably no small job unless you trash the lot - plus people are often not very good at keeping their data tidy (I'm no exception) so there could be stuff squirrelled away, even unintentionally. Possibly any deletions might be retrievable, too.

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notfastenough [3719 posts] 3 years ago
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step-hent wrote:

Just a thought, but wouldn't the moment of election be a bit late for seizing all the files? If I were McQuaid and I'd been covering up doping positives AND I'd been stupid enough to keep records of it, then I would have started getting rid of them as soon as it looked like there might even be a second candidate for the Presidency. Not that there's anything Cookson could have done about that, but it does seem more of a gesture than a useful practical step.

Think it depends how far his power reached. If I were in the IT dept and he called me and told me to destroy the backup tapes, I'd have some pretty serious reservations about that. Even if you were sacked, I would think you would have grounds for dismissal on the basis that a core part of IT's job is to protect the data.

If, on the other hand, he just deleted all his emails and thought that would do it, then seizing the backup tapes may well have been worthwhile.

I'd be interested to know if Kroll have been asked to start trawling through them.

No wonder PMcQ didn't disclose his salary - £312k tax free?! £26,000 a month, anyone?! First class travel everywhere as well no doubt. Wonder if he did the MPs thing of claiming back more than he should as well?

Reducing it by a quarter is significant to be fair, even if it is still a boatload of cash.

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jollygoodvelo [1561 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't have a problem with Cookson's salary - or even the unreduced number. I'm a believer that if you want the knowledge and experience, you have to pay the market rate, or the good candidates will just go and work in the private sector.

Does look like he's approaching the job in the right way though - for the good of cycling - and that can only be positive.

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zanf [870 posts] 3 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

If, on the other hand, he just deleted all his emails and thought that would do it, then seizing the backup tapes may well have been worthwhile.

I'd be interested to know if Kroll have been asked to start trawling through them.

Undoubtedly, they would be cataloguing the tapes to make sure there are no 'holes' in the backup library.

The system at my place works like this: 2 x backups of all servers & databases on a daily/weekly/monthly/annual frequency. Each of those backup is kept for a period of time depending on its frequency. (Without looking at the policies, I think its x5 so a daily tape is kept for just under a week before available for overwriting).

If they do not run an archive for email then they have some very large email databases. We archive all emails older than a month and absolutely nothing get deleted. You delete from your inbox, there is still a copy on the archive.

Apparently, Pat is not very IT savvy so I bet he thinks deleting emails from his inbox means they are gone forever. Any IT worth their salt will follow corporate governance rather than politics with regard to a CEO/President demanding backups get deleted and unless someone who is very tech savvy can oversee it, they can easily blag that its done, even to the extent of just making copies of backups and then hiding them externally.

notfastenough wrote:

Think it depends how far his power reached. If I were in the IT dept and he called me and told me to destroy the backup tapes, I'd have some pretty serious reservations about that. Even if you were sacked, I would think you would have grounds for dismissal on the basis that a core part of IT's job is to protect the data.

I was asked at a previous job, to export all the division CEO's emails so he could read them at home, despite having a laptop. It was quite obvious he was about to parachute from the company and wanted swathes of business data to take with him to his new role.

Long story short, I fed him a line about needing to purchase software to do it and then reported to my manager what he was doing.

The CEO then had me removed from the company when it became clear what I had done but as a contractor, I had no grounds for comeback but at least he left with fk all!