The current UCI president Pat McQuaid defended himself today against criticism from his only opponent in the September election for the post, Brian Cookson, after the British candidate called a proposed change to the nomination rules "undemocratic and unconstitutional".
McQuaid said an amendment to election rules proposed by the Malaysian Cycling Federation, which would allow a candidate to be nominated by multiple federations rather than just his or her own national governing body, was not against the rules.
"This proposal should not come as a surprise to anyone on the UCI Management Committee," McQuaid said through his publicist. "It has now been formally submitted in accordance with the rules and it is for Congress to decide whether it should be accepted or rejected."
McQuaid's candidature has been in jeopardy ever since the members of the Irish federation overturned the nomination of McQuaid by its board. He was then nominated through the Swiss Cycling Federation, but even that action has been challenged by three members of that federation to an arbitration tribunal.
Facing challenges from his two native federations, and losing support from a key member of the UCI management committee following the presentation of a dossier of evidence concerning the UCI's action during the Lance Armstrong doping years, McQuaid was able to secure nominations from the Thai and Moroccan federations "in accordance with the UCI Constitution", according to the statement.
While the UCI Constitution article 51 states, "The candidates for the presidency shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate", and only one license may be held by an individual, licensure is not required for nomination by a federation, according to McQuaid's statement.
"No one has changed the rules. No one has broken the rules," McQuaid said, stating that his membership in the Moroccan federation "goes back to early 2009".
He said there was nothing to stop Cookson from also joining multiple federations and gaining additional nominations, however only a single nomination is sufficient to be entered as a candidate.
The timing of the proposed amendment is important: the April nomination of McQuaid by the Irish federation was overturned in June. The Swiss nomination was put forth in mid-May but could be overturned in the August 22 tribunal decision. The deadline for nominations is June 30, but if the amendment is passed prior to the election, the nominations would be retroactively extended to August 30.
Even if the amendment fails, McQuaid claims that he has valid nominations from Thailand and Morocco.
"While Brian Cookson and his commercial supporters may wish otherwise I am pleased to declare that he will face an election in September and that they can not escape that reality," he added.