Supporting McQuaid could financially damage Swiss Cycling

Members of the Board of Directors of Swiss Cycling are trying to convince president Richard Chassot to withdraw the national federation's nomination of Pat McQuaid as UCI president. According to reports in the Swiss media, the cost of the court case challenging the nomination could financially ruin the federation.

McQuaid must be nominated by a federation, and his national Irish federation did so in April. However, later that month, protests about the decision by members cause the federation to call an Extraordinary General Meeting. At that meeting, held in June, the vote went against McQuaid and the Irish endorsement was withdrawn.

On May 16, it was announced that Swiss Cycling had endorsed McQuiad's candidacy. The Irishman noted that he has lived in Switzerland since 2005. However, according to the website, he had only become a member of the federation in May 2013, shortly before the nomination, perhaps in anticipation of the Irish withdrawal, the Swiss newspaper suggests, and that he joined simply to gain the nomination.

Three members of the Swiss Cycling Board of Directors called for an extraordinary meeting after the decision, but federation president Richard Chassot and the rest of the directors did not allow the meeting to be held, in violation of their own rules, said.

Three Swiss Cycling members, including former national trainer Kurt Bürgi and former pro rider Patrick Calcagni, have challenged the nomination in court. The newspaper says that one of the current national trainers planned to join the lawsuit, but withdrew this week. The unnamed trainer is on the Swiss Cycling payroll and “became aware of the consequences that his action might have on his employment”.

When the challenge was filed, Swiss Cycling was required to post a 50,000 Swiss Franc deposit, which it claimed it could not pay. This forced the plaintiffs to pay the Swiss Cycling share as well as their own, or the case could not be filed. As the plaintiffs could not also not afford it, Jamie Fuller of the cycling clothing firm Skins paid the required 100,000 Swiss Francs. He has lead a campaign to oust McQuiad and actively supported the Change Cycling Now campaign.

If the court rules against Swiss Cycling, the federation would have to pay back the entire sum and all other legal costs, risking financial ruin. Therefore, the newspaper says, more members of the board of directors are trying to persuade Chassot to withdraw McQuaid's nomination and thereby nullify the court case and the risk of financial ruin.

The case is scheduled to be heard on August 22. The UCI election is scheduled for the end of September.

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