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Cyclling: Club revolt may see McQuaid seek Swiss support

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Pat McQuaid

Pat McQuaid

Pat McQuaid

IN the face of mounting speculation that Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) president Pat McQuaid will not receive enough votes from Ireland's cycling clubs to secure a nomination to run for a third term, the Dubliner may now seek the backing of the Swiss federation.

An emergency general meeting of Cycling Ireland – called after a campaign to overturn the association board's original endorsement of McQuaid's re-election bid – is now just over a month away and those opposed to the nomination are cautiously optimistic it will be overturned by the clubs.

And speculation is mounting that McQuaid will instead seek the Swiss nomination for a third term.

Under UCI rules, presidential candidates must be backed by either their home union or the union in their country of residence if they want to run for office. It is believed that McQuaid, who now lives in Switzerland, may be planning to join a cycling club there in order to secure the backing of its cycling federation.

However, time isn't on McQuaid's side. The closing date for nominations is June 23 and a vote will then be taken at the UCI annual congress in September at the World Championships in Florence.

Meanwhile, the vote of Irish clubs at the EGM, which is scheduled for June 15, will decide whether McQuaid has the support of the Irish cycling fraternity. There are approximately 850 votes allocated to over 300 clubs, however, only the votes of those present at the EGM in Dublin will count and a simple majority is required.

Over the last few days a campaign by members of Cycling Ireland has been gathering momentum to have McQuaid's original nomination overturned. The concerned group have compiled a dossier on McQuaid's history within the sport which they plan to distribute to all clubs and they are also arranging free transport to the meeting for clubs.

Although Cycling Ireland's board originally endorsed McQuaid they were forced to withdraw the nomination after a number of clubs invoked a rule to demand an EGM.

In a further development, Jaimie Fuller, chairman of the powerful Skins clothing company and a founding member of the Change Cycling Now, has written to the board members of Swiss Cycling arguing against McQuaid's selection.

"It is my strong belief that the sport of cycling will be irreparably harmed if Pat McQuaid is endorsed and re-elected as the UCI president," states Fuller in his letter.

He adds: "For the last 22 years, there have been two people at the head of world cycling and it is time for change. The sport of competitive and professional cycling is at a crossroads. The UCI has alienated itself with the professional teams, fans and stakeholders as well as the World Anti-doping Authority (WADA)."

Fuller also sought unsuccessfully to arrange a meeting with Swiss Cycling president Richard Chassot.

And Fuller has also pledged in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Paul Kimmage defence fund in the US that his company will underwrite Kimmage's if McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen reactivate their suspended defamation case against him.

Irish Independent