Election of Pat McQuaid in 2005

ARTICLE SUMMARY

 

  • As with so many others in the CIRC report, this issue has nothing whatsoever to do with anti-doping and so with the Terms of Reference of the CIRC. It is just yet another attempt by the CIRC to use whatever it could possibly dredge up and twist to use against me and the UCI under my presidency.
  • The CIRC manifestly fails to show how the circumstances of Pat McQuaid’ candidature and his election as UCI President on 23 September 2005 have had any influence whatsoever on anti-doping. Hardly surprising – because there is no connection. So this issue is simply one more item on the CIRC’s shopping list of things with which to try to smear my name.
  • As with other parts of the CIRC report, this section too is riddled with mistakes and bias. I think that CIRC President Dick Marty has relied rather too much on assistants who should have been taking greater care of his own reputation.

 

FULL ARTICLE

 

The UEC proposed McQuaid

The first false fact in the CIRC’s report is that it was me who proposed Pat McQuaid as my successor.

This is not true and the CIRC takes care not to provide any evidence to back this statement, probably because it is clearly contradicted by documents that are available in the files.

As usual with this Commission, one of its interviewees must have said something to that effect, and because this sort of claim backed up the CIRC’s true intent, the CIRC was only too pleased to take the statement for granted.

McQuaid was proposed as a candidate for the UCI presidency not by me, but by Vladimir Holecek in his capacity of President of the European Cycling Union (UEC) in 2003 and following a decision taken using due process within the UEC.

McQuaid’s candidature was then presented to the UCI Management Committee meeting in Hamilton (Canada) on 6 October 2003. The Management Committee accepted that McQuaid was a suitable candidate and decided to support him. At the same time, the Management Committee members decided to take a joint position and not to propose or support other candidates.

The CIRC points out that “there appears no record of this in the minutes of meetings around that time”. It is correct that these decisions were not included in the minutes as they were taken in camera at the end of the Management Committee meeting, with no staff present.

But the CIRC fails to note of course that the decisions were subsequently confirmed in other documents that were readily available to the CIRC and by different Management Committee members.

For example, in an e-mail of 29 June 2005, Holecek confirmed to his colleagues on the Management Committee: “Pat McQuaid was proposed first time as a candidate for the UCI President during the discussion of the UEC Management Board meeting held in Warsowie in 2002 and proposed myself during the discussion in UCI Management Board. I have to confirm, that all members of the UCI Management Board agreed with the candidature of Pat McQuaid and he has support of the European National Cycling Federations”.

 

Baal abused for slander

On page 202, the CIRC had already written that “several people… describe how Daniel Baal, President of the French Cycling Federation and UCI Vice-President, who many saw as a designated successor to Hein Verbruggen, was removed by the UCI President, in particular for his demands for the UCI to have a more assertive, committed anti-doping policy”.

Once again, it appears to be sufficient that someone says something negative about me for the CIRC to accept whatever is said as an uncontested fact. The CIRC does not bother to check with any of the people concerned, let alone carry out any investigation to find out the truth. The CIRC does not investigate, it simply notes down negative opinions made by slanderers and then hastens to present these as a matter of fact.

How and when would I have “removed” Daniel Baal?  It is not because UEC proposed McQuaid that I would have removed Baal. If Baal has been “removed”, he has been removed by his continental confederation.

And Baal could not be removed by the UEC, or indeed by anyone: he had the absolute right to stand as a candidate and he could have been a candidate if the French Cycling Federation had proposed him.

Moreover, what exactly were Baal’s demands for a more assertive, committed anti-doping policy?   And why on earth would I have removed someone because of these sorts of demands? This is pure slander for which the CIRC provides not one scintilla of evidence.

And in what way was McQuaid less assertive with regards to anti-doping than Baal?

The CIRC says nothing about this. The CIRC’s words are just hearsay, cynically selected because they are in line with the CIRC’s aim to please WADA and Cookson.

Further, the CIRC has no problem with the claim that “many [seeing Baal] as the designated successor to Hein Verbruggen”. However, if the UEC saw fit to propose McQuaid as the successor to Hein Verbruggen and as the European candidate for the Presidential elections, the CIRC somehow finds this to be a violation of democracy and good governance.

As with so many other issues in its report, the rules of engagement or the judgments reached differ depending upon whether WADA likes the person concerned or not: Baal good; McQuaid and Verbruggen bad. It is totally superfluous to look at the facts, let alone to conduct any sort of investigation.

Baal did indeed have ambitions for the UCI presidency and may have been disappointed that McQuaid had been nominated. But Baal accepted the choice of the UEC and, following that, the choice of the UCI Management Committee. Baal behaved very honourably, respecting the decisions made throughout the whole process.

In an email dated 15 July 2005, when Sylvia Schenk had started her ‘war’ against McQuaid and me, Daniel Baal confirmed his support for the candidature of McQuaid.

But for the CIRC, Schenk naturally remains the ‘hero of the hour’.

 

McQuaid as trainee

At its meeting of 23 July 2004 in Salzburg, the Management Committee discussed the issue of the succession of the UCI President. It was agreed that McQuaid was to be given the opportunity to work with the UCI President at the UCI and familiarize himself with the work of a UCI President, should he be elected. It was also agreed that McQuaid would receive an allowance for this work. At a meeting of the Executive Committee it was agreed that mechanics of this allowance would be left to the Vice-President (Ray Godkin) and the Financial Director of the UCI.

Since March 2005, McQuaid had been living in Switzerland and was carrying out executive work for the UCI at its offices in Aigle.

Some time later, at the meeting of the Management Committee of 9 June 2005 in The Hague, Management Committee member Sylvia Schenk asked whether the fact that McQuaid was working at the UCI office and was receiving an allowance, was in line with article 52 of the UCI Constitution. I confirmed it was. At that point, Schenk did not challenge the fact that McQuaid was working at the UCI offices and would do so until the elections of 23 September 2005. Neither did she challenge McQuaid’s allowance. She just asked whether this situation was in compliance with the Constitution.

However, one month later, on 6 July 2005 Schenk requested a postal vote by the Management Committee. She asked that the following decision should be taken: “Pat McQuaid has to resign as member of the Management Committee immediately, or any material support of the UCI to Pat McQuaid has to stop immediately”. For Schenk, the issue was the compliance of McQuaid’s work and allowance with his position as Management Committee member under the UCI Constitution: she claimed that McQuaid was bound by an employment or service contract with the UCI, which is forbidden by article 52 of the Constitution. The issue therefore was whether an employment or service contract existed between McQuaid and the UCI?

Schenk’s demand demonstrates that she had no issue with McQuaid’s work, or his allowance as such, but believed that under the UCI Constitution these were incompatible with his mandate as a member of the Management Committee.

All other members of the Management Committee disagreed with her position. Subsequently, Schenk’s position was also rejected by the UCI Ethics Commission and by the UCI Appeals Board (see the chapter on the Sylvia Schenk affair). On the contrary, article 72.4 of the UCI Constitution stipulates that “an allowance may be granted to persons who exercise tasks inside the UCI which take up a considerable amount of their time”. This clause is also the basis for the remuneration of the UCI President (I was not remunerated, but McQuaid was – and Cookson is also remunerated on the exact same basis).

Schenk’s request was rejected by the Management Committee. At the same time, the Management Committee decided to confirm and maintain its earlier decisions, taking into account that in the meantime two other candidates for the UCI presidency had been nominated: Darsan Singh Gill from Malaysia on 22 June and Gregorio Moreno from Spain on 23 June.

The CIRC then writes that the UCI did not make McQuaid’s post “open to a competitive recruitment procedure” and there was no ”specific job description”.

Isn’t this ridiculous?

McQuaid started his work at the UCI on 1 March 2005 and, until 22 June, he was the only candidate for the UCI presidency. The Management Committee had agreed on his candidature and had decided to support it expecting that there would be no other candidates.

So why should there have been a “competitive recruitment procedure”?   Should the UCI have recruited other candidates for the UCI Presidency, or chosen someone else to prepare for the presidency who was not even a candidate? Does the CIRC really not know that only National Federations can propose candidates for the Presidency?

The work that McQuaid was doing was executive work that I, as UCI President, delegated to him.  There is no specific job description for a UCI President. So why should there have been a “specific job description” for McQuaid? What would be the use of that? He didn’t need it, I didn’t need it, the UCI Management Committee didn’t need it either. Having been member of the UCI Management Committee for eight years, McQuaid already had a fair idea of what the job of UCI President entailed.

It is totally ridiculous that the CIRC confects procedures that bear no relation whatsoever to the reality it pretends to have examined.

In view of these ridiculous fabrications I am frankly not surprised (but not impressed) that the CIRC finds that allowing McQuaid – initially the only candidate for the presidency – to prepare himself in order to ensure a smooth devolution was “not in keeping with principles of good governance or equality of opportunity for candidates”.

Naturally, the CIRC takes great care not to define in any way the principle of good governance that it has in mind when it makes this statement, if it has one in mind at all.

Regarding equality, McQuaid was the only candidate when his work started and in view of the agreements made within the Management Committee it was expected that he would remain the only candidate.

When two other candidates were announced, just before the deadline on 25 June, I offered them in a letter dated 4 July 2005 similar possibilities to those that had been provided to McQuaid. I also explained that the opportunity given to McQuaid to become familiar with the work of a UCI President, should he be elected to that office, as well as the allowance he was receiving for that, had been discussed and decided when the Management Committee believed there would be one candidate only. Singh reacted and a more detailed offer was made to Singh on 9 August. Moreno did not react.

This is also completely ignored by the CIRC.

It is completely outrageous for the CIRC to make accusations about unequal treatment while completely ignoring this explicit offer which was made to the two other Presidential candidates.

Either this is a case of wilful concealment, or of incredible incompetence.

Next the CIRC recognizes – I hope that I am not too stupid to believe it – that I acknowledged a conflict of interest of McQuaid’s in that he had accepted back in 2003 to advise the organizer of the 2004 World Championships.   It was then decided that the organizer pay the fees to the UCI and the UCI would help the organizer with the organisation of the World Championships.

Here too the CIRC finds that this arrangement was not consistent with principles of transparency and good governance, without offering any explanation why. In my view, the conflict of interest was solved in the best interest of the organization of the world championships.

 

Schenk

Then the CIRC adds in the paragraph about this conflict of interest issue: “Sylvia Schenk, a member of the Management Committee challenged these practices and Pat McQuaid’s candidature, but the CIRC has found no evidence that others did”.

Schenk never challenged the way in which McQuaid’s conflict of interest had been solved. There is also nothing about this subject in the section of the report on the Sylvia Schenk affair (page 205-206 of the CIRC report).

As is shown in the chapter of this website on the Sylvia Schenk affair, the CIRC is completely mistaken about what Schenk was challenging, or otherwise it is deliberately misrepresenting them: Schenk did not challenge McQuaid’s candidature.

Where the CIRC writes that it did not find evidence that others challenged “the practices” or the candidature of McQuaid, I can only confirm that the other members of the Management Board members did not challenge this.

It is interesting that the CIRC (rather preposterously) suggests here that it has been looking for evidence! If the CIRC ever bothered to look for any evidence to back up its host of false claims, it either overlooked or deliberately ignored most of the available evidence which, by coincidence, was not helpful for its real mission which was to paint an unremittingly negative picture of what happened. This also includes any evidence that could not be used to paint Sylvia Schenk in a favourable light.

 

My candidature

The CIRC continues with my own candidature for the 2005 elections. That candidature was put forward by the Dutch Cycling Federation on 25 June 2005.

I explained in a two-page letter, dated 29 July 2005, to the Presidents of UCI’s Continental Confederations why I had decided at the very last moment also to put forward my own candidature. I had, of course, no intention to be a candidate against McQuaid. I wanted to be a candidate against Singh and Moreno in order to prevent the UCI coming under the influence of ASO and so giving ASO an even more dominant position in cycling. Even the CIRC recognizes this dominant position on pages 91 and 93 of its report.

I find this a very valid reason to stand, as it was about protecting an international sports federation against the domination of a powerful commercially interested party.

Moreno was clearly the candidate of the three Big Tours who opposed the ProTour. A couple of days before the deadline, Moreno had not even considered putting himself forward as a candidate. He was prompted to do so by the Big Tours via the Spanish National Federation.

During his electoral speech at the Congress, he criticized the ProTour that was contested by the three Big Organizers.

I notice that the CIRC does not refer to my letter of 29 July explaining the situation in two pages. The CIRC only refers to a seven-line note of 31 August (footnote 297 on page 203), so more than a month later, to some Management Committee Members that does not contain that explanation. The CIRC is very selective in picking out the evidence for its positions!

On 24 September 2005, the day after the elections, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, while noting that the Congress had passed off perfectly, wrote: “The election of McQuaid disrupts the strategy devised by the three Big Tours who sought to abort the so-called ProTour and therefore needed to seize the power in the highest international organization”. (Translated from Spanish)

The CIRC writes, of course, that I was afraid that McQuaid’s candidature could be invalidated by Sylvia Schenk’s claims, but the real fear was that McQuaid would be eliminated by factual circumstances: an accident, family circumstances etc., as had happened twice before in the UCI’s history.

However, as I show in my chapter on the Sylvia Schenk affair, Schenk did not claim that McQuaid’s candidature was invalid. So what the CIRC writes here is simply false.

In addition my candidature was formally entered on 25 June 2005. Schenk’s first claim in relation to the McQuaid candidature was only made afterwards, on 27 June 2005, and (I repeat) Schenk did not challenge the validity of McQuaid’s candidature.

 

The election was regular

The CIRC reluctantly, yet viciously writes that the ballot was “seemingly” regular. The ballot was perfectly regular. The voting was secret, the voting procedure was visible and transparent for the whole UCI Congress, the public and the press, the counting of the votes was controlled by scrutinisers appointed by the candidates and all the aspects of the voting procedure were noted and attested by a notary in a public deed.

The CIRC doesn’t mention that of course. By writing that the ballot was “seemingly” regular, the CIRC is in fact questioning the reliability of a Spanish public officer. Il faut le faire!  All means are apparently acceptable and fair to the CIRC if they can be used to attack me.

The CIRC adds weight to this outrageous insinuation effect by stating that “the period before the election is however open to severe criticism and illustrates a clear disregard for genuinely democratic, transparent processes”.

But of course the CIRC provides no reason whatsoever for this wild and unfair accusation: precisely what was not democratic and what was not transparent?

Every issue discussed by the CIRC was well known to the cycling family and to the outside world prior to the elections. The voting delegates and the National Federations at the Congress knew perfectly well that McQuaid was the candidate supported by the UCI Management Committee, that McQuaid had worked in Aigle to prepare for the function of President in the event he was elected and that he had received an allowance for that. Everyone was also well aware of my own candidature and of the reasons behind that.

Similar to Schenk, who widely publicized the matter, the other two candidates had every opportunity to point out to the Congress any elements that they might have deemed to put them at a disadvantage and then invoke them as a reason for the delegates not to vote for McQuaid.

Any voting delegate who did not agree with the circumstances of the candidature of McQuaid could in all freedom and in good conscience vote for Singh, or for Moreno, or cast a blank vote: it was a secret ballot after all.

Any voting delegate who considered, as the CIRC apparently does for the sake of its anti-Verbruggen mission, that anything was not transparent, or not democratic, or not in line with good governance, could have punished that by not voting for McQuaid.

At the Congress there was, to the best of my recollection, no criticism from the National Federations or voting delegates about the fact that the candidature of McQuaid had been proposed and supported by the UCI Management Committee. There was no criticism either about the fact that McQuaid had prepared himself for the presidency in case he won the elections by working at the UCI office and had been paid an allowance for that.

The validity of his election has never been challenged by anyone.

 

Ambiguity and confusion in the CIRC report

But that is not all: the CIRC continues to smear everyone concerned by writing that the ballot was “seemingly regular, although accusations were made concerning buying of votes, which have not been proved (discussed in the following section) but which demonstrate the tense atmosphere at the time”.

I have no recollection whatsoever about accusations concerning the buying of votes for the 2005 elections. Even in the “tense atmosphere at the time” there were, to the best of my recollection, no allegations about votes being bought.

Even Sylvia Schenk has never referred to any such accusation and she certainly wouldn’t have missed that opportunity.

This is completely unclear.

Besides, what does the CIRC mean when it says “discussed in the following section”? Which is the “following section”? Is it the one entitled “Funding federations to ‘facilitate’ the election” on page 204 (which I deal with in the chapter on my finances)? There are no accusations about buying votes there, unless it would be in the three blacked-out redacted lines, which seems unlikely. In addition, the CIRC writes that these accusations have not been proven. What is the point of referring to non-proven accusations, the origins of which are entirely unknown, if not simply to smear?

The “following section” may also refer to section 2.5.2.2 on page 206, as we are now in section 2.5.2.1 on the 2005 elections. Under section 2.5.2.2 the CIRC indeed discusses accusations of buying votes and also states that the accusations have been examined by the UCI Ethic Commission and have not been proved.

But these accusations concern the election of Brian Cookson in 2013 and the buying of votes for Cookson, not the elections of 2005.

If the CIRC was referring to the accusations in section 2.5.2.2 this would be an absolutely disastrous mistake, or else a despicable trick.

In any case, the ambiguity illustrates once again the lack of quality of the CIRC report.

 

Singh

Inevitably the CIRC must also say something in favour of Darsan Singh, one of the two other presidential candidates and an ally of Schenk. However, as always, the CIRC provides only a small part of the story.

Singh was the President of the Asian Cycling Confederation and in that capacity he was a member of the UCI Management Committee. However, on 30 March 2005, Singh lost the elections for the ACC presidency: he was not re-elected and lost his position on the UCI Management Committee.

The elections for the ACC presidency were originally scheduled to be held on 3 January 2005, but they were postponed. Before that, Singh had made the ACC Congress adopt a new clause in the ACC constitution stating that only members of the ACC management committee could run for the ACC presidency and abolishing the right for each Asian national federation to nominate a candidate for the ACC presidency. In a fax dated 10 November 2004, I protested against this unacceptable amendment of the ACC constitution which was a violation of the UCI Constitution (fact that the CIRC ignores of course). In its meeting of 3 January, the ACC congress abolished the “Singh clause” so that all Asian national cycling federations could once again nominate a candidate of their choice.

At its meeting held on 3 January, Singh asked the ACC congress for a mandate to appoint a candidate for the UCI Management Committee to be elected by the UCI Congress (in addition to the ACC President who is a UCI Management Committee member ex officio). He then decided on his own initiative to appoint himself in the event that he was not re-elected as ACC president on 30 March.

Reportedly, on 16 May 2005, the Cycling Federation of Malaysia, of which Singh was the honorary president, nominated him for the UCI presidency. A letter dated 16 May was drafted to that effect but it was not sent to the UCI. It was kept by Singh who handed it over to me on 22 June when he showed up unannounced at my office at the UCI in Aigle. The explanation was that he feared that the letter could have gone lost if sent by mail.

Following the election of Hee Wook Cho as the new ACC president on 30 March 2005, Singh was requested to hand over the books, documents and funds of the ACC to Cho. Singh refused and on 16 May started to contest the validity of the election of Cho, claiming that the votes had not been counted correctly. However it was Singh who had presided over the elections, and the scrutinisers and the ACC Congress had validated the elections. In a letter dated 7 April, Singh had congratulated the new ACC president upon his election. Singh claimed that because of the errors allegedly committed, he had won the election so that he could keep his post on the UCI Management Committee as ACC president.

The contestation of the election results was made in a letter dated 16 May. The nomination letter for the UCI presidency that Singh handed over on 22 June, was also dated 16 May.

The UCI intervened, insisting that Singh hand over the books, funds and documents to the new ACC presidency. Singh invoked all kinds of excuses but eventually handed these over on 28 June.

However, it turned out that he only handed over the accounts of 2004. When the UCI requested that Singh also hand over also the accounts of previous years (a request that had to be made repeatedly), he answered on 20 August that there was no obligation for him to keep these documents, meaning that he had destroyed all previous accounts once they had been approved by the ACC Congress.

Of course the CIRC sees all this as manœuvres to thwart Singh from becoming a presidential candidate. The CIRC overlooks, however, that there was already a correspondence between UCI, ACC and Singh concerning the funds, books and documents of the ACC before the candidature of Singh was made known to the UCI on 22 June.   The CIRC also conveniently overlooks that the continental confederations are not bodies outside of UCI, but administrative units and integral parts of the UCI: article 23.1 of the UCI constitution. So the books and funds held and administrated by Singh were also UCI books and funds. In addition, there had been financial operations between UCI and ACC and the UCI had the absolute right to know what had happened with these funds.

It was in this context that the ACC asked the UCI for help in order to try to clarify the ACC finances.

This request was made on 8 August. I don’t have it, but the date results from the answer by UCI’s General Director of 9 August, which I have been able to find.

The General Director of the UCI asked the ACC for information and suggested ACC appoint a local auditor to examine the ACC accounts. The mail states further: “After the examination of the accounts by the auditor, we propose a meeting in Korea with the ACC, the financial auditor and Mr Claude Schnegg (UCI’s chief accountant) for briefing and analysis, according to your suggestion”.

On 20 August, Singh indicated in a letter to the UCI that he was not in possession of the ACC accounts prior to 2004. This he confirmed on 17 September.

Ignoring all these facts, the CIRC then concocted a totally different story. Concealing the time line, the CIRC writes that I was “quick” to send the UCI’s chief accountant to Asia and that the “haste displayed by President Verbruggen” (even though it was the UCI’s Director General who dealt with the matter) could be better understood in the light of the fact that Singh was the third candidate to the UCI presidency. The CIRC also writes that the chief accountant did not go to Asia as the accounting documentation could not have been analysed in time for the election.

As explained above, the matter of the handing over of books, accounts and funds was going on well before Singh announced his candidature on 22 June. When the ACC asked for help from UCI’s chief accountant on 8 August (a date that the CIRC conceals), there was plenty of time for an analysis, as the elections were due on 23 September only. But the CIRC conceals the real reason: Singh claimed on 20 August that he did not have the books and accounts prior to 2004 any more. I wrote him a final letter on this on 22 November 2005, also ignored by the CIRC, concluding that “Thus we can close the discussion on this subject since you seem to indicate that you do not have the ACC Accounts and Books any more, at least the ones previous to 2004”.

Furthermore, I can’t remember that this issue has ever played a role in the election campaign.   The CIRC doesn’t report either that it has.

So we can conclude that, for the CIRC, the apparent financial irregularities and the disappearance of books and accounts are of no importance whatsoever if they happened to be the responsibility of someone who was opposed to Pat McQuaid. For the CIRC, it is apparently completely wrong that the UCI tried to find out what had happened, simply because the person involved was standing as a candidate against McQuaid.

The CIRC also ignores the fact that Singh started proceedings concerning the ACC presidential elections before the UCI appeals board. Singh was dismissed and appealed to the Swiss state court because he didn’t want to pay the costs of the UCI proceedings. The matter was settled out of court, in the same way as it was with Schenk.

That Singh started mostly hopeless proceedings is of course incompatible with the image of a belligerent UCI that the CIRC wants to draw at any cost. Singh was also an opponent of McQuaid. Therefore Singh is, just as Schenk, ‘a saint’ and the facts that disprove this have been deliberately withheld by the CIRC.

 

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