My financial situation with the UCI

ARTICLE SUMMARY:

  • Failing to find any trace of bribery, corruption, misappropriation of UCI funds or other issue, the CIRC tried to attack me concerning a financial issue that has nothing whatsoever to do with doping.
  • This chapter corrects the false picture that the CIRC has tried to paint.

 

 

FULL ARTICLE:

In the report the CIRC makes one remark concerning my finances. It then links that information to the election of Pat McQuaid, but I deal with that issue separately in my article “Election of Pat McQuaid in 2005”.

Either way, the issue has nothing whatsoever to do with the fight against doping, but, as we know, the CIRC’s only real mission was to try to attack me and my reputation – and so it pulled out all of the stops. Moreover, financial details, however irrelevant, are always juicy gossip and attract public attention.

On page 205, the CIRC mentions that I was repaid the travel expenses of six Latin American cycling administrators that I had initially paid for myself. In keeping with the CIRC’s vocation of presenting everything that concerns me in a negative way, it is presented as if it were something suspicious.

In fact, I was quite prepared to pay these expenses myself since I knew they had not been foreseen in the budget and I have always tried to apply a policy of strict respect of the budget – something that could easily have been checked by the CIRC. Later in that year, however, the UCI financial director informed me that this (comparatively small) amount of money could be paid back to me after all, given that the UCI had achieved a better than expected financial result in the 2005 fiscal year.

The CIRC, however, falsely suggests that I took the initiative to organize a meeting in Rio de Janeiro with a view to convincing six representatives of South American National Federations to vote for Pat McQuaid. In fact, the reason for my being in Rio was that I had been invited to the PASO Congress by the President of PASO (Pan American Sports Organization, the organization of the National Olympic Committees of the American Continent). I also had a number of other meetings, including with PASO President Mario Vázquez Raña.

While I was in Rio for the PASO Congress, a meeting took place at the request of José Manuel Peláez, the President of COPACI, the Pan American Cycling Confederation, with the delegates of these six South American Cycling Federations and Mr Peláez.

And yes, the upcoming UCI presidential elections was one of the subjects under discussion, but certainly not the only one. The payment of expenses had nothing to do with “funding federations to facilitate elections”; it was simply done due to the lack of funds at the level of the South American national federations. I believe that I didn’t even mention to Mr Peláez that I would be picking up the costs personally.

If the CIRC had been prepared to consider all of the relevant facts, instead of picking out only those that it deemed fit to be ‘spun’ against me, the Financial Director could easily have informed the CIRC that this was not the only time that I decided to pay UCI costs myself.

There was, for example, a year (2002 or 2003) when we found out after closing the accounts in March/April of the following year, that there had been an unexpected loss of some CHF 150,000.  That loss, incidentally, could easily have been paid out of the reserves.

However, as President, I felt responsible, in particular as this loss had arisen due to a dispute between the UCI and the ProTeams – and the teams therefore refused to pay a contribution that had been agreed. I therefore decided that I would pay the CHF 150.000 out of my own pocket, since there was an undertaking in the budget that there should be no loss.  Some time later, our Financial Director succeeded in resolving the issue with the ProTeams and so my personal intervention was not necessary.

 

What is written behind the redacted part of the report? 

At the top of page 205 and on pages 207-208 there are parts of the report that have been blacked out and I have not been given any information about what is in there. Brian Cookson seems to have given this section to the UCI Ethics Commission. However, the information was spread wider than the Ethics Commission, given that the day following the presentation of the CIRC report, on Tuesday March 10, a small article appeared in a local paper (Le Matin) that the CIRC report apparently contains details about a “large sum of money” that had been paid out to me

That is completely correct and I am very happy to provide the details of it, because there is simply nothing to hide!

Let me make the following observations first:

  • For the entire period of my presidency, I was effectively a volunteer – I was not paid a salary for the work I did;
  • I was (partially) compensated for the personal costs that I incurred moving from Belgium to Switzerland to take up the presidency;
  • These personal costs included:  a considerable investment in housing (the sale of my house in Belgium and the purchase of an apartment in the Lausanne area where the UCI had its offices at that time), higher taxes, higher insurance costs, travel costs for visiting my family in Belgium, etc.;
  • I never claimed that annual allowance while I was active as President and Vice-President;
  • The allowance was clearly mentioned in the UCI’s accounts (“Fund President”) and the UCI paid an interest of 2% annually. This allowance was finally paid to me in a lump sum of 760,000 Euro on 11 November 2009, more than a year after I left the UCI as Vice-President.
  • In 1996, when I moved from Belgium to Switzerland, the allowance was CHF 15,000 per year, increasing gradually up to a maximum of CHF 120,000 in 2005. It was then decreased to CHF 60,000 during my period as Vice-President (September 2005 through September 2008).

The CIRC could have chosen to note:

  • That I always paid the cost of tickets for my wife when she travelled with me (except during the World Championships);
  • That I was extremely frugal in my expenses, as can be seen from all of the expenses reports;
  • That I never asked for any repayment for the dinners or parties that I hosted for UCI visitors;
  • That I did not stay in suites, nor was I chauffeured around in cars hired by the UCI;
  • That I donated the statue that stands in front of the World Cycling Center building;
  • Etc., etc.

But all of these facts risked appearing too positive, so the CIRC ignored them.

One final piece of information concerning the time I spent working for the UCI (including work done for the IOC during my final years, for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games). Having worked as a consultant, I habitually note the hours/days I spend on a given job and I also did that for the time I spent working for the UCI and other sports governing bodies where I had a function (which also benefited to the UCI).

In the period between 1992 and 2008, I spent a total of 4,011 days working for the UCI and other sports governing bodies. I never took one cent of payment for all of this time worked; as I said above, the money that was paid to me was a (partial) compensation for the extra costs I incurred for moving to Switzerland.

Ironically, shortly after the publication of the CIRC report, the IOC published in a very transparent way the cost compensation system that the IOC Ethics Commission has devised for the (volunteer) IOC President. It is exactly the same system as that which applied for me at the UCI.

I think that, at the very least, the CIRC – again – is not acting very correctly towards me to put it mildly.

Indeed, a quick calculation must lead to the conclusion that including this information in the report would have led to a rather embarrassing comparison.   The CIRC’s budget was CHF 2,500,000 for a (part-time) one year job resulting in a below par report! How does that compare with my average cost allowance of CHF 54,000 throughout 14 years of full-time presidency?

line
Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes