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UCI gives Ethics Commission sanctioning power to fight abuse

Doltcini-Van Eyck
Doltcini-Van Eyck (Image credit: Getty Images)

The UCI announced on Thursday, following its June Management Committee meeting, that it has given its Ethics Commission power to sanction individuals without having to refer cases to the UCI Disciplinary Commission. 

The move comes after Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport manager Marc Bracke was found guilty of violating the Code of Ethics in October but was allowed to continue managing the team this spring.

Bracke's guilty verdict came after formal complaints of harassment by two female riders who alleged that he requested images of them in their "panties and bra" and "bikini."  The team kept Bracke from directing at the Flanders Classics events after race organisers requested he not attend but months have gone by without a Disciplinary Commission decision or formal sanction.

"To reduce the length and complexity of proceedings opened for violations of its Code of Ethics, the UCI decided to entrust its Ethics Commission with full sanctioning powers. The Commission can therefore impose sanctions without referring, as was the case previously, to the UCI Disciplinary Commission," the UCI stated in a press release after the Management Committee meeting.

"The Code now provides for various measures and sanctions that can be imposed by the Ethics Commission, including provisional sanctions, preventive and/or coercive measures to avoid conflicts of interests and suspended sanctions which may be accompanied by educative measures. This means that the extremely varied nature of cases the Ethics Commission examines can be taken into account with the imposition of measures that are preventive, educative or punitive, depending on the nature of the case."

In addition to sanctioning power, the Ethics Commission is now allowed to inform complaintants of procedural rights and information, something only the accused had access to in the past.

"This obligation to provide information also includes information concerning the decision and its considerations, insofar as the complainants are directly concerned by the relevant facts," the UCI stated.

The decision comes as part of a wider "integrity programme" which the UCI hopes will prevent and punish "all forms of abuse (notably sexual harassment) in cycling more effectively". 

The new programme will include general awareness of ethics issues and a system to allow anonymous reporting of "inappropriate conduct".

The UCI intends to appoint a Integrity and Education Manager by the end of September 2021 who will be in charge of education across all disciplines and who will manage the reporting system for harassment and abuse.

"The UCI recognises the importance of education for any activity linked to integrity and believes that the appointment of a reference person for the different concerned parties who is dedicated to this area represents a significant step forward," the international governing body said.