Verbruggen accuses WADA of 'hate campaign' in complaint to IOC Ethics Commission

WADA calls on Verbruggen to retract complaint

Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has accused WADA of carrying out a “hate campaign” against him and the UCI, and he has lodged a complaint with the IOC Ethics Committee about former WADA chairman Dick Pound, WADA director general David Howman, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart and lawyer Bill Bock.

"I have lodged a complaint against Pound, Howman, Tygart and Bock with the Ethics Commission of the IOC, a body that I trust to remain fully objective," Verbruggen said in a statement, according to insidethegames.biz.

"It was a serious omission in the past not to create some form of supervisory authority over WADA, such as an Ethics Commission to which an aggrieved party could appeal.”

Verbruggen was president of the UCI between 1991 and 2005. He had threatened to sue the UCI in the wake of the publication of its Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report in 2015, before reaching a settlement with current president Brian Cookson in December. Under the terms of the settlement, Verbruggen remains honorary president of the UCI.

While the CIRC report published no evidence to prove that Verbruggen had covered up a positive test by Lance Armstrong at the 2001 Tour de Suisse, it highlighted instances where Armstrong had benefited from “preferential status afforded by UCI leadership.”

The CIRC report also criticised Verbruggen for his long-standing feud with Pound during his tenure as WADA chairman.

In his statement on Wednesday, Verbruggen accused WADA and Pound of double standards in their treatment the respective doping cultures in athletics and cycling.

“WADA has been aware of the problem that existed in athletics for years - and through all of these years it remained completely silent. It took the media to expose the full extent of the problem in athletics before WADA finally roused itself to take any action whatsoever,” Verbruggen wrote.

“Contrast that attitude to the way that WADA behaved towards cycling, where WADA subjected the UCI and me to a 12-year long hate campaign, in particular from people like Pound and David Howman - latterly joined by USADA with Travis Tygart and Bill Bock.

“Wild and totally false accusations were bandied about in public, including those of complicity in doping and corruption.”

WADA reacts

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie has responded to Verbruggen’s statement by calling on him to retract his complaint to the IOC’s Ethics Commission, saying that he was “astonished” by the comments made about Dick Pound. Reedie also called on the IOC to consider investigating Verbruggen’s behaviour.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, WADA said: "The allegations in the complaint have no merit, are outrageous in their content and obviously defamatory.

"Reedie calls upon Mr. Verbruggen to publicly retract his complaint immediately.

"Reedie also suggests to the IOC Ethics Commission that it dismiss his complaint as being totally without merit forthwith; and, consider conducting its own investigation into the malicious conduct of Mr. Verbruggen in relation to a member of the IOC."

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