Skins, Swiss federation member Buergi challenge Swiss McQuaid endorsement
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (VN) — Jaimie Fuller and his Skins compression company have yet to lay down arms against UCI president Pat McQuaid, and on Friday the company announced it would legally contest the Swiss Cycling Federation’s recent endorsement of the Irishman, who’s running for reelection as UCI president.
According to Skins, the Swiss endorsement of the Irishman McQuaid — his home country was unsure of whether or not it would back him for a third term — is bogus.
“The challenge is being mounted following the announcement made by Swiss Cycling after its meeting on May 13, 2013, and will be presented on the basis that the endorsement was unconstitutional and made without proper authority,” a Skins release reads.
Skins has partnered with Kurt Buergi, a member of the Swiss Cycling Federation and sporting director of a Swiss national development team, to contest the endorsement. If successful, it could mean McQuaid’s only hope to run for president would fall back to his home country’s nomination.
“As a confirmed member of Cycling Ireland, Mr. McQuaid has already sought endorsement from the Irish Federation and membership of two Federations is not permitted under the UCI constitution,” the release states.
McQuaid was allowed to seek Switzerland’s backing because he lives there, though that support is now in question.
Cycling Ireland, meanwhile, is entering the arena, again, angry with the Swiss for a perceived violation of article 11.2 of the UCI Constitution, which states that one federation cannot overrule the ruling of another.
The Irish contingent originally nominated McQuaid for UCI top brass, but former Irish federation vice president Anthony Moran — who did not back McQuaid’s initial bid — legally challenged the nomination, concerned the meeting wasn’t in step with Cycling Ireland’s own guidelines.
The Irish board then called for a meeting in which clubs can decide if McQuaid will earn the support of his home country.
Adding to all this uncertainty is the fact that the Swiss board convened just days ago to revisit the matter but lacked enough members to take any action, as only three of eight board members were present. It’s unclear if the Swiss board will come together again before the Irish meeting, slated for June 15.
Skins also alleges that the initial meeting at which the Swiss board endorsed McQuaid was vastly misunderstood, and that the vote to endorse McQuaid never occurred in the first place.
An email to Swiss Cycling wasn’t immediately returned Friday afternoon. Likewise, the UCI’s communications department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McQuaid.
“There has been a suggestion that the Swiss announcement rendered the Irish vote as meaningless, but the members of Cycling Ireland should be in no doubt that their vote really does count,” Skins chairman Fuller said through a release.
“If Cycling Ireland’s members vote against endorsement, this action could then finally close the door on the prospect of a further term of office for the current president. I have personally sought clarification of the Swiss Federation’s meeting in May from the members present, but, as is their right, they have refused to provide details. It will be a very different matter when under oath in a court of law.”
Skins general counsel Benjamin Fitzmaurice explained that the action was filed as arbitration, under Swiss Cycling regulations, seeking to appeal the alleged decision of the Board. “The action will be filed Monday, but, at the latest, Tuesday, due to the filing deadlines,” he added.
The arbitration filing comes at a time McQuaid is also begging to grapple with a very serious challenger to his throne, in the form of British Cycling president Brian Cookson, a well-connected and recent cycling insider, without the stains of the EPO era dripped upon his resume.
Since 2009, Cookson has been a member of the UCI’s Management Committee, a collection of top brass from global cycling that is charged with steering the organization. He served as president of the UCI’s cyclocross commission from 2009-2011 and, since 2011, he has been part of the road commission, the powerful panel that decides on many of the rules and regulations outlining professional road racing.
Fuller, the financial backer of the Change Cycling Now action group, has been outspoken in his criticism of McQuaid, and his desire to see new leadership at the helm of the UCI.
Most recently, Fuller promised to support Irish journalist Paul Kimmage, after a fund to support Kimmage in his legal troubles with McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen slipped into chaos. McQuaid and Verbruggen dropped its lawsuit against the Irish journalist in October, but can re-launch it at any time.