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UCI names CAS president to appoint independent commission on Armstrong scandal

John Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic Committee, will determine composition of inquiry

The UCI has revealed that John Coates, President of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), will be recommending the composition and members of the independent commission that the governing body has ordered to be set up in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair.

With the UCI itself implicated by the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Reasoned Decision in the Armstrong case in connection with its alleged collusion in covering up a suspect test for EPO by the disgraced cyclist as well as its decision to accept donations totalling $125,000 from him, senior figures in the world of sport have urged it to ensure that the commission is fully independent.

Those include Brian Cookson, President of British Cycling and a member of the UCI’s management committee which ordered the commission to be set up a little less than a fortnight ago, and John Fahey, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Besides his role at ICAS/CAS, Coates is also President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), and has urged a hard-line approach against doing, last week tabling a motion to be debated at an AOC meeting later this month that would require all potential Australian Olympians to sign a declaration, under oath, that they have never been involved in doping.

As The Australian newspaper points out, in the event that any such declarations are subsequently proved to have been made falsely, legislation regarding statements made under oath in jurisdictions such as New South Wales could result in criminal proceedings being brought against an athlete and even a potential prison sentence for anyone found guilty of an offence.

In a statement released today, the UCI said:

The Commission will comprise three members: the first and its chair will be a respected senior lawyer; the second will be a forensic accountant, who will be recommended by the chair; and, the third will be an experienced sports administrator. All three members will be independent of cycling.

When appointed, the members of the Independent Commission alone will decide the final terms of reference of its wide ranging remit. The UCI has drawn up draft terms of reference which addresses the main issues raised by the USADA report into Lance Armstrong.

Mr Coates has recommended a number of senior legal figures to be the potential chair of the Independent Commission, as well as providing names for the sports administrator member. The UCI has already begun contacting the people Mr Coates has nominated to establish their availability.  They will be announced as soon as the Commission is formally convened.

The UCI has committed that the Commission’s final report and recommendations will be published no later than 1 June 2013.

The President of ICAS was approached to recommend the composition and membership of the Independent Commission as the head of the institution supervising the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the world’s highest sports court, recognized as independent and impartial by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

UCI President, Pat McQuaid, commented: “We would like thank John Coates for his recommendations, which we will follow to the letter.”

“The purpose of this independent commission is to look into the findings of the USADA report and ultimately to make conclusions and recommendations that will enable the UCI to restore confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body.”

He added: “Cycling is one of the world’s most popular sports, both for participants and spectators and it has a bright future. Those who will define that future can be found among the current generation of riders who have chosen to prove that you can compete and win clean.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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