Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Time For McQuaid To Resign?

The UCI has, in recent times, faced much criticism regarding it's efforts to clean up cycling, as much to do with their involvement in the Lance Armstrong affair as the the shambolic handling of the Contador positive test. Most recently Pat McQuaid and the UCI have been doing everything in their power to get their hands on the evidence held by the USADA in their investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team and it's involvement in drug doping. Last week the UCI claimed that the case was their jurisdiction, not that of the USADA and that they should hand over all documentation to the UCI, where before they said they had nothing to do with the case. It's the back-pedalling we have come to know well from the UCI and their sinister underbelly. Finally though, it looks as though the UCI may have the sting removed from their tail...

Yesterday, WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), who's rules the UCI must be compliant with, made a very public show of warning McQuaid and his cronies to stay clear of the USADA investigation. Though this intervention on the surface seem's relatively small, in fact it's quite a big deal. WADA giving McQuaid a public slap down not only undermines his role as UCI president, but also the role of the whole governing body. WADA were very clear and open in their opinion of the UCI's latest debacle:

"WADA has followed with interest the recent communication from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) questioning the latter's jurisdiction in the pending case against Lance Armstrong and five other individuals involved with former American cycling teams. WADA can confirm that it has written to UCI President Pat McQuaid stating that it disagrees with the comments made by the UCI in its statement of August 4, and that as the independent agency responsible for leading the fight against doping in sport WADA has urged the UCI to reconsider its position and provide 'all support to USADA in the conduct of this case, including all documents required by them'."

WADA, who wrote a letter to McQuaid were forceful to the point of ridicule in their wording:

"In a letter of August 7, WADA Director General David Howman explained that article 15.3 of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) gives USADA the jurisdiction to bring a case against the six individuals involved, and that the UCI had misinterpreted its own rules in light of the Code,"

''The UCI had misinterpreted its own rules in light of the Code'' - a basic accusation that the UCI doesn't even understand it's own rules is significant in that it's highlights just how lacklustre the UCI and their understanding of the case is. If the UCI have suffered embarrassment before, then this is on an unprecedented scale.

WADA's letter went further in providing unequivocal support for the USADA: "The letter also confirmed that WADA regularly reviews USADA's processes and has consistently found them to be compliant with the Code, and that the UCI has in the past been satisfied with USADA's results management and its due process, citing the cases of Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis,Furthermore, Mr. Howman points out that nowhere in the Code is an ADO required to "turn over its witnesses and evidence in advance of the arbitration process", as the UCI claimed in its letters."

I think far from miss-understanding their own rules, its more a case that the UCI don't care for their rules when indeed it suits them, and this wouldn't be the first time that they have bent them for their own needs. Pat McQuaid has long been a source of annoyance in the cycling community, his inconsistencies and tendencies to 'put his foot in it' have left many dissatisfied. The forceful manner in which the UCI has gone about attacking USADA's case has not endeared them to the public as it becomes apparent that Pat's personal agenda is the motivation behind it. The fact that WADA have now made such a public show of disapproval only serves to highlight his failings further, and when such a big ruling body get's involved, its probably a good idea for those on the receiving end to take a look at their management. Should McQuaid resign? I think so, but I have a niggling suspicion that his replacement would be just as incredulous. Is there even a UCI without McQuaid? Possibly not, though just where that would leave the sport is another story. The question that we all should be asking though, is why would one governing body wish to prevent another from carrying out an anti-doping investigation? Not only counter-productive, it's sinister. I think we all know why Pat McQuaid would like to put the investigation into Armstrong to bed - and what does that tell us about a governing body and it's anti-doping stance?

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Interesting post. Big public slap in the face for McQuaid and the UCI. You don't see that kind of thing happen often. This'll be an interesting story to follw.