Former German federation president hopes UCI can restore its credibility
Sylvia Schenk would welcome an independent investigation into alleged corruption at the International Cycling Union (UCI), following comments made Pat McQuaid.
Last week the UCI president told Cyclingnews that, "We'd welcome any investigation into the UCI. There has never been corruption in the UCI."
Schenk is the former German federation president and UCI management committee member and has encouraged the idea.
While Schenk dismissed the idea that the UCI could cover up a positive doping result in return for a bribe - simply because national federations and accredited labs would also have knowledge of it - she did not discard other forms of corruption.
"I doubt that a positive result could be covered up in return of a payment," the lawyer and chairwoman of an international organisation fighting corruption, Transparency International, told Cyclingnews on Monday. "But I could imagine that a medical explanation - whether accurate or not - would be found and accepted."
Schenk was adamant that the UCI needed an independent investigation in order to restore its credibility, adding that the way in which it handled the allegations made by Floyd Landis was "poor.”
“The UCI's problem is the treatment of the Armstrong's late positives [the re-tested samples from 1999, allegedly positive for EPO - ed.].
"The UCI should have initiated a process to ensure an objective investigation. Also, Armstrong's 'donation': the UCI stated different amounts, dates, etc., and it never made any account receipts public, even though that should have been easy.”
"The UCI has very little credibility because of this, and an independent investigation could restore it. This should be done by a consulting company like PWC or Deloitte and include public monitoring, for example by WADA representatives and by people from outside of the sport. The UCI should give access to all documents, including those in relation to the Armstrong donation."
Although Schenk said that she had never been a witness of corruption during her time in the UCI management committee (from 2000 to 2005), she also warned, "It depends on how you define corruption, whether you only take into account criminal law infringements or the abuse of power for personal advantage, as Transparency International defines it.
"This advantage does not have to be material; it can be a specific honour for example like the attendance of the podium celebration at the Worlds. A lack of transparency and clear criteria can easily lead to the abuse of power and corruptive conduct in this sense.”
"In addition, there is an unpleasant culture of gift-making. As far as concrete candidacies to host events are concerned, there is a framework of rules at the UCI, but other than that there was a great willingness to take gifts for granted. My former colleagues of the UCI management committee told me, for example, that after the nomination of McQuaid as successor to Hein Verbruggen they discovered a bottle of fine Irish whiskey in their hotel rooms. I hadn't voted for McQuaid so I didn't receive anything - but I don't drink whiskey anyway..."
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