Monday 21 October 2019

McQuaid's presidential bid hits fresh stumbling block

Gerard Cromwell

The ongoing saga of Pat McQuaid's nomination for election in the upcoming UCI presidential race has taken a few more twists.

McQuaid's eight-year tenure as boss of world cycling has been plagued by major doping scandals and allegations of cover-ups and complacency from the sport's governing body.

His proposal to be re-elected as president for a third four-year term sparked months of debate worldwide and even prompted groups such as Change Cycling Now to call for McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen to be removed from the sport's top table.


Just weeks before he was due to face a Cycling Ireland EGM, which would allow cycling clubs here to vote on whether to ratify his nomination for a third term as UCI president, McQuaid yesterday seemed to have rendered all of that irrelevant when he gained nomination from the Swiss cycling federation for the September elections.

He originally sought and gained nomination from Cycling Ireland, but the national governing body here was forced to nullify that nomination when it was deemed that the vote by their board members was held outside of their own rules and regulations.

Rather than simply nominate the Wicklow man again, Cycling Ireland then bowed to public pressure for an EGM, due to be held on June 15, where Irish clubs would have the right to vote for or against nominating McQuaid.

With the EGM due to take place just days before the deadline for the presidential nomination and fearing a possible 'no' vote from his compatriots, McQuaid – who has been resident in Switzerland since 2005 – covered his bases and approached the Swiss federation for their nomination. Yesterday they granted his request.

Although there have been plenty of outspoken views worldwide on McQuaid's tenure as head of the UCI, the fact remains that nobody else has put their name forward for the elections.

"My nomination in Ireland has been politicised by a small group of people," said McQuaid yesterday.

"However, I have received a wealth of letters from national federations all around the world urging me to stand for president again and I strongly believe that it should be for our national federations around the world to decide democratically on their next president."

However, McQuaid's latest nomination could yet hit a snag. Under article 51 of the UCI constitution, the candidates for the presidency "shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate".

As a former president of Cycling Ireland, McQuaid holds an honorary lifetime Cycling Ireland licence and it was confirmed by Cycling Ireland yesterday that he has an Irish licence for 2013.

Even though he has lived near UCI headquarters in Switzerland since 2005, under UCI rule number 1.1008, the licence holder "shall remain affiliated to that (Irish) federation until the expiry of the licence, even if he changes country of residence".

Under UCI rule number 1.1009 "a licence holder may hold the licence of only one national federation", so McQuaid cannot hold a Swiss licence and therefore yesterday's nomination by the Swiss federation could yet be deemed invalid.

Irish Independent

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