Verbruggen accuses UCI of failing to pay his legal fees

Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has accused the UCI and its current president Brian Cookson of violating their agreement to pay his legal fees following the Dutchman’s threats to take the governing body to court. Verbruggen made the threats in the wake of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report, which accused him of showing ‘protectionism and favouritism’ towards Lance Armstrong.

The CHF2.25 million report, however, cleared Verbruggen of any wrong-doing as well as his successor Pat McQuaid. He later hit back, saying that the CIRC report was political manoeuvring from Cookson and called into question its validity. In April, Verbruggen sent the UCI a 3,350-word letter and threatened legal action; he also lodged a complaint with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ethics Commission.

On Monday, Verbruggen told the website that he had subsequently signed an agreement with the UCI, which prevents Cookson from requesting him to stand down as its honorary president. As a result of the agreement, the UCI would also have to publish some text on its website, about Verbruggen’s reservations regarding the report, and pay his’s legal fees – in the region of €40,000. This payment, Verbruggen says, has not been made.

“Both Cookson/UCI and Verbruggen have executed all obligations under that agreement except that the UCI did not pay the agreed-upon contribution to Verbruggen’s costs,” Verbruggen told insidethegames, referring to himself in the third person.

In response to Verbruggen’s comments on Monday, the UCI sent a statement from Cookson to Cyclingnews that denied any money had been paid to Verbruggen. It also confirmed the signing of the agreement but noted that it should have been kept private and confidential and that Verbruggen’s decision to make it public resulted in it being void. Verbruggen, who was the UCI president for more than a decade, told insidethegames that he was not aware that he had made any breech and accuses Cookson of ‘fabricating’ his argument.

“Now that this obligation and the corresponding breach of contract have become public, Cookson, almost half-a-year after the agreement was signed, comes up with a fabricated argument that Verbruggen would not have respected the agreement; conveniently not specifying the alleged breach,” said Verbruggen.

“Besides, Verbruggen has never been informed by Cookson that in the latter’s view he would have done something in breach of the agreement.

“The agreement has been validly signed, has been fully executed except for the payment by UCI, and remains fully in place, it is for Cookson/UCI to live up to their signature.”

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