By Shane Stokes
Responding to the issues raised by UCI Management Committee member Sylvia Schenk, presidential candidate Pat McQuaid has denied suggestions of improper behaviour in his campaign. Schenk has accused the Irishman of receiving payments from the UCI, contrary to article 52 of the constitution, which states that "no member of the Management Committee shall be bound by an employment or service contract with the UCI, a federation or a continental confederation at the same time."
Speaking to Cyclingnews earlier this week, McQuaid dismissed accusations that he has been receiving a salary since moving to Switzerland earlier this year. That he has been given some financial assistance is beyond dispute; Hein Verbruggen confirmed recently that the Irishman has received money, but said that these were expenses rather than salary payments.
Schenk insists that talk of expenses is just a work-around. "In his letters, he [Hein Verbruggen] says that the payments made to McQuaid are merely expenses allowances and have no contractual foundation. But this is still questionable: it is hard to believe that McQuaid left his country for Switzerland without some sort of security of a contract, especially as his whole living must be paid for. If his payments are this high, which is undisputed, and you don't verbalise it in a contract, it represents a by-pass."
For his part, McQuaid says that he is satisfied that the expense payments are allowed. "They are permitted, yes," he said. "There is no clash with the constitution."
"The UCI are not financing my campaign," he continued. "The Irish federation are assisting me in my campaign, and they have been doing quite a bit of work for me, lobbying for me and campaigning for me. The work that I'm doing in the UCI offices at the moment is absolutely nothing to do with my campaign. It is completely separate to that. So I don't think there is really any cause for concern there."
Schenk feels otherwise and has already reported the matter to the IOC Ethics committee. She said that she is willing to take the matter to other tribunals, including CAS, if necessary.
But McQuaid says that he is satisfied that the UCI will be cleared by any inquiry. "I am quite comfortable with any of the investigations and appeals that are going on, and confident that things will go on the favour of the UCI board."
"I think it is very unfortunate that that situation has arisen," he stated. "I don't agree that things haven't been done as they should. I have acted at all times with the board’s wishes. I think it is unfortunate now that we have a board member who has made her way up through the cycling world to be president of her federation and to go onto the board of the UCI and then, for whatever reason, she loses the presidency of her federation and the support of her federation. She is due to step down from the UCI in September and so she has nothing to lose. She wishes to bring this situation to boil. I don't agree with this and I would be quite confident that, in time, the president, Mr Verbruggen, and the UCI board will be exonerated."
He also responded to Schenk’s suggestion that while Hein Verbruggen had contacted each of the 42 delegates, asking them to vote for McQuaid, while at the same time refusing to pass on the contact details to the other two candidates. "The truth of the matter is that to get those details, the UCI had to go to the five continental presidents and ask for the details from them, which we did. We have passed on the information of the five continental presidents to each of the two voting delegates, so they can do the same. The voting delegates are the responsibility and the prerogative of each continental confederation. The UCI has no power, no authority and no right to give out those names and addresses because they belong to each continental confederation. So the UCI has given the details of the five confederation presidents to the other candidates...they can do what we had to do [to get the contact details]."
A full interview with Pat McQuaid will follow this week.