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Cookson: we must abide by the election rules

Daniel Benson
August 23, 2013, 08:27,
August 23, 2013, 09:27
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 23, 2013
UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson

UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson

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Disappointed that candidates' manifestos are being ignored

With the election of a new president of the UCI lurching towards a conclusion next month, Brian Cookson has expressed his disappointment in the fact that the manifestos for each candidate have taken a backseat. Cookson along with incumbent President Pat McQuaid issued their manifestos earlier in the campaign, however the focal point of the election has been over McQuaid's hunt for a national federation to support him. It has led to condemnation from Cookson’s camp, while McQuaid has relied on the support of a possible rule change in the UCI rules to get this far.

Cookson threw his hat into the ring in June. Since then he and McQuaid have both issued their individual manifestos. However, in reality very little scrutiny has been given to both men’s mandates. Instead, the election process has been shrouded in controversy.

McQuaid has seen two international nominations to support his candidacy revoked and his participation in the election vote in September is not yet certain, with a possible challenge over his subsequent nominations from Morocco and Thailand.

“I think there are serious questions to be asked. I think we all want a democratic and fair election but the important thing is that there are rules and that we all abide by them,” Cookson told Cyclingnews.

“By all means change them and have a different election next time but what really worries a lot of people is that we can have these retrospective changes. The analogy I made was that I thought I was riding the pursuit and then all of sudden it might be a points race or a team pursuit. Just when you start to pull ahead the rules get changed and that’s not right. I think people understand that all across the world and it’s caused a lot of outrage from everyone I’ve talked to.

Cookson claims that ‘everyone’ includes those within the UCI and on Thursday he received the backing of Russian Cycling President Igor Makarov. Until now Makarov’s role has been to work behind the scenes, de-stabilising McQuaid’s bid for election rather than providing a wholesome backing of Cookson.

Hours before hearing of Makarov’s public endorsement, Cookson told Cyclingnews, that “I’ve talked to Mr Makarov. I know him probably as well as Mr McQuaid knows him. I’ve made no commitment to him at all. I’ve no funding from Mr Makarov or commitments to him or anyone else.”

“What I’m trying to do is run a straight and legitimate election programme. I’m trying to do it in a way that’s ethical and trying to set the tone for when I’m president. There’s a Mr Makarov in all big sports and you can’t not deal with these extremely rich Russian people. They have legitimate voice like everyone else.”

However until the manifestos become the focal point of the election, the focus will remain on the UCI’s constitution and the nomination process.

“To me the constitution is quite clear it says that nominations come from the federation and it’s federation singular, not plural. The information that we had from the UCI Director General Hubschmid was that nominations had to be received in hard copy format by June 29. We got ours in and lo and behold it was announced that there were two candidates.”

“Then several weeks later it transpires that there’s more than one nomination for Pat. Now it appears that these lawyers employed by Hubschmid to examine the conduct of Hubschmid have revealed that everything he did was perfectly in order. I think anyone looking at that can see, hang on a minute now, it says that email submissions were acceptable and they came in via email. Well that was not what we were told back in June. We were told quite clearly that it had to be hard copies. We can argue about the pros and cons and it will keep lawyers happy for years on end but the fact is that most people will look at that and think something isn’t right here.”

“That’s a feeling that we have to move away from at the UCI. If we in our elections can’t abide by the rules, then what hope is there for us trying to govern the sport properly?”

Should the two-way election go ahead and McQuaid triumph, a path could be set for the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Such a situation, speculative though it is, would involve McQuaid winning the Congress vote and Cookson appealing the decision based off the nomination process.

“I think we at British Cycling have expended enough on lawyers for the time being but I wouldn’t rule anything in or out. I’m prepared to see the election through but under the rules as they are.”

Although ruling out McQuaid even before an election takes place could be his best chance of winning, Cookson is disappointed with how the manifestos have taken a backseat.

“That’s a huge disappointment to me. I was the first to come out with my manifesto. Pat said they were pretty half-baked and then a couple of weeks later he came out with his manifesto that was not too dissimilar from mine. I’m very happy to have an election on the issues but when you’re in an election scenario and all of a sudden people want to change the rules then I think it’s legitimate for a candidate to say ‘hang on this isn’t right.’ If others want to say the same thing, that’s up to them. It is a shame that the issue have been bypassed in what has become a very unseemly contest. I’m going to fight this all the way through and under the rules and I’m going to complete this race.”

DaleUK More than 1 year ago
good on you Brian, its the least you can ask that all candidates respect the rules as they had been from the beginning. however you are dealing with The Robert Mugabe of cycling A.K.A : Pat Mcquaid He brings shame on his fellow countryman in Ireland. A very sad cunning vindictive man. The sooner we can get him out the better Cyclings future will be.
Toobab More than 1 year ago
One good thing to be said for Pat, at least he was a pro rider of sorts. Cookson's biggest achievement on a bike was winning his divisional champs, and his day job was middle manager in local government.
martinvickers More than 1 year ago
Given the absolute mess pro road cycling got itself into around both doping and a pro calendar, there's a lot to be said for not having been part of that circus, and having a sensible and useful life away from just bikes.
Chorleycycl1st More than 1 year ago
I agree with martinvickers. To have a candidate who knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong, to be able to listen and to understand good governance has to be a good thing for cycling.
goli123 More than 1 year ago
A pro rider that went to apartheid South Africa to get a race when that was banned? What kind of a leader makes a decision like that? ... not one that I want.
wee westy More than 1 year ago
Nor me - I want an honest man to head up the UCI. McQuaid has a track record of dishonesty as a pro rider and since. Cookson does not, just the opposite in fact. We can all list examples of McQuaids dishonesty - anyone got any of Cooksons? I doubt it.
Tideplay1 More than 1 year ago
Heckler TY for being such a horses arse you really help make the point that Mcquaid is one as well
Mr Sheen More than 1 year ago
What about his years of successfully organising the Tour of Lancashire? No not a big race by any means, but a really good one, especially at the time in the UK's history when cycle racing had taken a huge dip with the loss of the Milk Race. You do not have to have been a great bike racer to be a good organiser and as someone else pointed out, having been a pro racer does not inspire too much confidence.
chechu More than 1 year ago
I see the IOC have decided against extra cycling events at the 2016 Games, which is a shame given the level of interest, especially for the women competitors. Pat McQuaid is therefore a failed member of the IOC yet he claims cycling will suffer if he is NOT re- elected AS he is an IOC member. Sounds Irish to me?
StraussDieter More than 1 year ago
The dude abides.
wee westy More than 1 year ago
If Brian Cookson was clearly told by the UCI that hard copy nominations were required then it seems that PMQ has lost the case that his latest two are valid, simple as that. So he will be reliant on the retroactive rule change, and I doubt (and sincerely hope) that it won't get a 2/3rds majority. And for the very few PMQ supporters here, do they think that if Brian Cookson had only submitted a nomination by email and that the Irish nomination had been ratified, PMQ would have shrugged it off and said thats OK let Brian stand anyway - don't make me laugh!
wee westy More than 1 year ago
Oops sorry - that was meant to be that I doubt it'll get the majority required, and hope it won't. Should have been more careful - some would jump on that kind of wording ;-)
durgadas More than 1 year ago
The rules aren't all there are. Rules are made up to serve an intention, and in doing so some things tend to be assumed, even as much as lawyers like to pretend this isn't the case. What is clear is the McQuaid doesn't see us, the general cycling populace as his constituents. I saw a funny Web site that talks about it a little, but isn't very well maintained that basically said "You aren't the boss of me" and this seems to be a general attitude of McQuaid. This is why I don't think anyone likes him. It's rude as hell to basically ignore the people you're talking to or to talk past everyone. Makes you sound arrogant and out of touch, which he is. What I don't think we're in touch with, as this site pointed out to me, is that we really aren't the bosses of Pat. The IOC is, and they are being served by Pat in this capacity. We, Are Nothing to Pat; which is why is feels EXACTLY like that. Once Cookson gets in there, he'll see and his tone will shift to that of McQuaid. Take a look at the larger picture, folks.