Strong-minded Sylvia Schenk continues quest for Law & Order - Part I
Former German Cycling Federation (BDR) president and current member of the Union Cycliste International (UCI) Management Committee, Sylvia Schenk believes that the upcoming UCI election has been seriously compromised and filed a complaint with the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Ethics Commission in June 2005. Schenk complained about the UCI's financial support of Pat McQuaid, Road Commission President and UCI president-elect, and is about to file another complaint with the UCI Appeals Board before eventually taking the case all the way up to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), as she told Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner in an exclusive interview. (See also: Part II)
Schenk, a Frankfurt attorney, alleges that McQuaid's cost of living in Switzerland has been entirely paid for by the UCI since February 2005, and that it violates Article 52 of the UCI Constitution. "Pat McQuaid obviously lives in Switzerland at the expense of the UCI since February - and Verbruggen doesn't deny that," she said. "So one has to conclude that there is either a contract existing or if there isn't a contract, it represents a by-pass of the Constitution which stipulates that no member of the Management Committee may have a contract with the UCI at the same time."
Schenk also questions the UCI's - or more personally, its president Hein Verbruggen's - involvement and handling of the upcoming election for presidency. Verbruggen, who is already Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, is leaving the UCI for an as-yet unknown position with the IOC, after the vote for presidency at the UCI Congress is held during the World Road Championships in Madrid on September 23, 2005.
The 42 voting delegates will determine which candidate of the three - Irishman Pat McQuaid, Malay Darshan Singh or Spaniard Gregorio Moreno - will become Verbruggen's successor.
But Schenk claims that neither Singh or Moreno were given the contact details of the delegates for their electoral campaign, whereas McQuaid is being supported by the UCI and Verbruggen.
"It just cannot be that a Federation finances one of the candidates to the presidency, when there are in fact three candidates," Schenk told us. "That never happens anywhere. The other two candidates were not even given the addresses of the electoral delegates (for lobbying) whereas Verbruggen mailed all of them saying they should vote for McQuaid," she alleges.
Schenk is clearly not intimidated by the UCI, even after it issued an extraordinary press release in late July that was widely reported. The statement pointed to her "forced resignation" from the German Cycling Federation because of the "numerous controversies which have characterised her mandate", yet the UCI didn't offer any specific incidents to support its claims.
Unperturbed, Schenk is determined to shed some light on the UCI’s electoral processes and wasn't afraid to tell Cyclingnews about the numerous heated exchanges with Verbruggen during her time at the UCI.