UCI President Pat McQuaid sent the following letter to professional cycling teams that have chosen to participate in Paris-Nice on Wednesday. The letter was distributed to media on Thursday – Editor
Aigle, 27 February 2008
Ref: Presidence / fb
It has come to my attention that ASO has asked the teams to sign a contract in order to participate in Paris – Nice.
I would like to impress on you the following.
The signing of this contract would mean that your team would put itself completely outside the UCI.
By signing the contract you would be joining a private circuit controlled entirely by ASO for the benefit of its commercial interests.
You would be abandoning the protection afforded by rules of the UCI which are designed to give teams and riders rights and not simply protect the interests of organisers.
If you read the proposed contract carefully you will see that it is completely one-sided in favour of ASO. In it the teams agree to a series of obligations of which ASO is the beneficiary.
The only purpose of this contract is the protection of the image of the race and ASO’s commercial interests.
For example, ASO would be able to exclude any rider or even an entire team simply as a result of a mere rumour of doping (article 2.2 and 3.2): the contract provides for no form of appeal to a neutral body in contrast to the UCI’s rules which provide for appeal to president of the college of commissaries, the president of the CUPT, the Road Commission or CAS. You would be denied this fundamental right of redress.
ASO would also be able to decide which people the teams could invite to the race (article 4.1).
ASO would also decide on reasons for exclusion from the race and on this matter it would be the sole deciding body. ASO would sit as judge over its own affair.
ASO would also be able to decide what a team or rider would be required to provide in any incidence of doping (article 2.1).
A fine of 30,000 Euros would be payable to the French Federation for the sole purpose of the development of French cycling.
By virtue of Article 4.5 ASO would take control of all image rights of the teams and riders. Teams would also have practically no rights in the sphere of communication (see also signage on the vehicles and article 5.2). This article plainly demonstrates the purpose of the contract which is to put the teams entirely at the disposition of ASO’s commercial interests.
Article 5.5 would force you to declare nothing prevents you from signing the contract whereas you will know that participation in Paris – Nice organised in this manner by ASO is a violation of the rules of the UCI. In effect you are being asked to affirm what is manifestly not true.
Article 5.6, concerning responsibilities, is very much less in your favour compared with the UCI’s rules, particularly 1.2.034.
In summary, the contract illustrates that the teams would have little else in terms of rights other than the right to submit to the wishes of ASO. It shows perfectly how the organisation of a race outside the UCI’s calendar would allow ASO to wipe out at a stroke all the rules and regulations which have been built up over the years in order to ensure a balance of power between the teams and organisers.
One last point, even if the contract was negotiated with ASO in order that it be modified in manner to make it more favourable to the teams, it would still be that case that your participation at Paris – Nice organised in this manner by ASO would be a total violation of the rules of the UCI.
I trust that this cannot be what you want.