Cycling in turmoil as UCI president Pat McQuaid is branded a 'dictator'

Livid rival Brian Cookson accuses incumbent UCI president of embarrassing 'an entire sport'

Little more than a week after Chris Froome celebrated winning the landmark 100th Tour de France in what was supposed to signal the dawn of a new era, cycling was instead propelled towards civil war over an increasingly bitter battle to govern the sport.

Brian Cookson, the Briton attempting to oust Pat McQuaid, the incumbent president of the UCI, the governing body, accused the Irishman of embarrassing "an entire sport" and the organisation he runs of "attempted dictatorship" over a clumsy, blatant and belated attempt to alter the rules for the election.

Cookson complained furiously to Christophe Hubschmid, the UCI's director general, over the proposal to change the nomination process for September's presidential election more than a month after the original deadline, and accused McQuaid's complicated nomination of going against the UCI's constitution. "The efforts to change the nomination and electoral process are a clear sign of desperation from Pat McQuaid," said Cookson. "This latest twist appears to be nothing more than a fraught attempt to undemocratically and unconstitutionally impact on the process while it is under way.

"It is no wonder that many in the cycling family as well as fans and sponsors have lost faith in the UCI to govern ethically when the man at the top of the organisation is prepared to embarrass an entire sport in an attempt to try and cling on to power."

The combative McQuaid responded by insisting "no one has changed the rules, no one has broken the rules" and accused Cookson of being narrow-minded and looking only to promote the interests of British Cycling.

The original election process required candidates to be nominated by their home federations by 30 June. Cookson is supported by British Cycling, which he has led for 17 years, but there were complications to McQuaid's candidacy. The Irish federation withdrew its nomination after a vote by members. McQuaid has lived in Switzerland since he became UCI president in 2005, and has been nominated by the Swiss federation but that is being challenged in the courts. The case is expected to be heard in Zurich on 22 August. If it is overturned McQuaid would be without a nomination from either of his home federations and not able to stand for election.

But on Monday, Hubschmid contacted national federations revealing details of a change to the nomination procedure for the election proposed by the Malaysian federation and the Asian Continental Confederation, areas where support for McQuaid is believed to be strong.

Pat McQuaid's election rival Brian Cookson Pat McQuaid's election rival Brian Cookson

 

The new proposals require a candidate to be nominated by two federations, not necessarily their home ones, before a new deadline of 30 August. Extraordinarily, the new proposals will be voted on at the same congress where the election will take place and applied retrospectively. McQuaid has the support of the Thai and Moroccan governing bodies – of which he is also a member – but Cookson, who met the rules as originally laid down, will need to find another backer, possibly USA Cycling, in case the new rules are agreed.

The 42-strong electoral college will vote on the election and the new proposals in Florence on 27 September during the World Road Championships.

Cookson is on the UCI's management committee and is angry the proposals were not discussed before being added to the agenda for September's meeting. "It is surely completely out of order to allow a proposal to change an electoral procedure once that procedure is under way," he said. "What sort of organisation attempts to rewrite the rules once an election has actually begun? It smacks of attempted dictatorship. It seems to me that, at best, all of this is bringing the validity and impartiality of the terms and conditions of the electoral process into serious question. At worst, this is beginning to look like a concerted attempt to manipulate the election in an undemocratic and unconstitutional way."

Mike Plant, the US representative on the UCI board and a Cookson supporter, is also contesting the proposed rule changes as "unconscionable, unethical, dishonest, unprofessional, manipulative and destructive."

McQuaid is seeking a fourth term amid growing clamour for change following the fallout from the US Anti-doping Agency's investigation into Lance Armstrong. During his tenure cycling has expanded globally and McQuaid has strong backing outside its European heartland.

"I have received enormous support from federations around the world urging me to stand for re-election," said McQuaid. "There was nothing stopping Brian Cookson from showing an interest in cycling around the world by joining other federations that would have allowed him to secure additional nominations when he decided to stand. I respect that his horizons, however, do not stretch much further than British Cycling and that his home is where his heart and ambitions as a presidential candidate lie."

Suggested Topics
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas