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McQuaid’s response to dossier leak: ‘Gangster politics’

  • By Brian Holcombe
  • Published Sep. 10, 2013
Mike Plant and Pat McQuaid are on opposing sides in a contentious UCI election campaign. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

British Cycling boss Brian Cookson, who is running against incumbent Pat McQuaid in a bid to become the president of the UCI, has called for an investigation into allegations of corruption leveled at McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen in a dossier presented to the world governing body’s top committee in June. McQuaid shot back in a letter to national federations on Tuesday, accusing Cookson of corruption and engaging in “gangster politics.”

After VeloNews published a report on the dossier’s contents on Monday evening, Cookson called for an investigation of the allegations, which American Mike Plant presented to the UCI Management Committee in June:

These allegations, which appear to be similar to those made to the UCI Management Committee in June, are clearly very serious. For the good of the UCI and cycling, they should be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the relevant authorities. I hope that this matter can be fully resolved before the UCI Congress on 27 September.

For my part, I remain totally committed to a democratic election under the Constitution of the UCI and will continue to talk and listen to national federations and voting delegates on how, together, we can grow cycling globally and restore faith and trust in our sport.

Later Tuesday, McQuaid fired back in a letter addressed to the heads of national federations, calling the dossier “libelous” and a “complete fabrication.”

“The claims in this so-called dossier are a complete fabrication. They are totally untrue and are not supported by a scintilla of evidence,” wrote McQuaid. “This is a scurrilous and libelous attack on my character, with a political agenda that is both nakedly transparent and totally contemptible — and unfortunately one that is completely in character with the tactics of my opponents.”

Later in the letter, dated September 10 and distributed to the media on Tuesday, McQuaid accused Cookson’s camp of “attempted extortion, attempted vote-buying,” and other indiscretions.

“So far in this presidential election campaign, my opponents have employed lies, bribery, attempted extortion, attempted vote-buying, attempts at entrapment with hidden cameras and microphones, commercial interests threatening to bankrupt national federations if they didn’t withdraw my nomination and legal chicaneries to try to prevent you from even being given the chance to vote for or against me. This is not democracy. This is gangster politics,” McQuaid wrote. “If Brian Cookson does not now condemn these tactics utterly, then we can only assume that he supports them — and we will all have a graphic preview of how the UCI will be run for the coming four years under his leadership and with his henchmen.”

McQuaid and Cookson are locked in a contentious election campaign for the UCI’s top post. A number of detractors have challenged the legitimacy of McQuaid’s candidacy after the federations in his home country of Ireland and adopted home of Switzerland refused to back his run for the seat.

The UCI Congress will elect the governing body’s next president at the world road championships on September 27 in Florence, Italy.

Both candidates are slated to appear in Zurich this Sunday in front of an Exceptional General Assembly of the European Cycling Union, where they will each present their platforms for the 14 European delegates.

Full letter from Pat McQuaid:
Aigle, Switzerland, 10th September 2013
TO THE PRESIDENTS OF ALL NATIONAL CYCLING FEDERATIONS

Dear Federation Presidents,

Yesterday evening, a libellous “dossier”, alleging corruption at the UCI, was anonymously leaked to the media. The media organisation presented the document to me. The claims in this so-called dossier are a complete fabrication. They are totally untrue and are not supported by a scintilla of evidence.

This is a scurrilous and libellous attack on my character, with a political agenda that is both nakedly transparent and totally contemptible – and unfortunately one that is completely in character with the tactics of my opponents.

The UCI Ethics Commission has already tried to investigate this dossier, which was compiled by Management Committee members Igor Makarov and Mike Plant. The Ethics Commission asked Mr Makarov and Mr Plant to hand over a copy of their dossier, but both of them have refused. That fact alone speaks volumes.

Given that Mr Makarov and Mr Plant are the only two people to have this document, it is clear that this ”anonymous” leak can only have come from one of them. Both of them have trumpeted their support for Brian Cookson in this Presidential election. That is entirely their prerogative, but this sort of despicable behaviour is not.

So far in this presidential election campaign, my opponents have employed lies, bribery, attempted extortion, attempted vote-buying, attempts at entrapment with hidden cameras and microphones, commercial interests threatening to bankrupt national federations if they didn’t withdraw my nomination and legal chicaneries to try to prevent you from even being given the chance to vote for or against me. This is not democracy. This is gangster politics.

If Brian Cookson does not now condemn these tactics utterly, then we can only assume that he supports them – and we will all have a graphic preview of how the UCI will be run for the coming four years under his leadership and with his henchmen.

This behaviour on the part of three Management Committee members – as well as this libellous dossier – is doing untold damage to the reputation of the UCI, something that Brian Cookson has claimed he apparently wants to restore.

I am proud to stand before you as a candidate in this election. I am proud to present you with a clear choice of leadership for the coming four years. I will be prouder still if you choose me as your next President at Congress this month. But if you do not, I will accept your choice with good grace and I will leave Florence with my head held high. I will know that I have given my all to the UCI over the past eight years and that I have done everything possible to protect our democratic process.

I challenge Brian Cookson to say the same thing.

Yours sincerely,

Pat McQuaid

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Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe is the editor of VeloNews.com. Holcombe joined VeloNews in 2009 following years spent introducing students to whitewater kayaking and working in avalanche control, among other more risky ventures. A Master of PR and Marketing Communications, his graduate work at the University of Denver focused on innovation, digital media management and custom publishing. Holcombe is a CSU Ram fan and proud parent, and has been accused of attacking too much on the VN lunch ride. Follow him on Twitter @FCBrian.

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