The CIRC’s mandate

ARTICLE SUMMARY

  • The CIRC violated its terms of reference in different ways: on the one hand, it failed to examine the role of other stakeholders, in particular WADA, in the issues it was supposed to be investigating; on the other hand, it offered unwarranted criticism of other issues which were completely outside its terms of reference, such as the 2005 presidential elections at the UCI.  
  • WADA and its former president Dick Pound were clearly shielded from criticism by the CIRC.
  • The “truth and reconciliation” element of the CIRC’s mission completely failed: no riders showed up to confess.

 

 

FULL ARTICLE

On page 19 of its report, the CIRC explains that its mandate was not to solve the problem of doping in cycling. That I understand. But I would like to make a few additional comments to its mandate.

First, according to paragraph 3 of its Terms of Reference, the CIRC had been asked to “investigate into allegations which implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over ineffective investigation of doping practices in cycling”.

In my letters to the CIRC, I made my cooperation with the Commission conditional upon it also investigating the role of “other governing bodies and officials”, in particular WADA and Dick Pound.   In their answers to me, the CIRC led me to understand it would do that.

On 25 June 2014, the CIRC wrote to me as follows:

“…The CIRC aims to obtain an objective picture of the fight against doping by the UCI and other stakeholders involved, by undertaking comprehensive research and impartial analysis of all anti-doping initiatives and activities it discovers.” [my emphasis]

 

On 16 September 2014 the CIRC wrote to me saying:

“…As per Article 3 and 5 of our Terms of Reference, we have been tasked with conducting a ‘wide-ranging independent investigation into the causes of the pattern of doping that developed within cycling and allegations which implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over ineffective investigation of such doping practices… The CIRC investigation shall result in a report containing recommendations for the future with (and for) all stakeholders involved in the cycling world.” [the CIRC’s own emphasis]

 

The report shows that they did no such thing. Let’s just say that I feel misled, to put it mildly.

As will be shown, there is little or nothing in the CIRC report about “other governing bodies and officials”. Even the 19-page report that I submitted to the CIRC, my 404 pages of documents and my 44 questions in this respect were completely disregarded by the CIRC. They are not even mentioned in the CIRC’s final report.

 

On page 90 of its report, the CIRC confirms that it was “further asked to conduct a wide-ranging independent investigation into the allegations that implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials in respect of their investigation of doping practices…”

However, the CIRC investigated only allegations that implicated the UCI and none that implicated WADA, or other governing bodies and officials (with the exception of the personal opinion offered by DIck Marty regarding the Vrijman report).

This is a clear breach of the CIRC’s Terms of Reference.

 

In its report, the CIRC offers a great many negative opinions on issues that clearly have nothing whatsoever to do with their Terms of Reference :

  • Alleged underdevelopment of women’s elite road cycling (page 70)
  • Considerations about the governance of the UCI, including my succession by Pat McQuaid (pages 201-210)
  • Considerations on technical cheating and fixing outcomes (pages 85-86)
  • Conflict with ASO (page 94)
  • The Paris bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games (page 95)

It is clear that, having failed to find even a scintilla of evidence of corruption or concealed tests, the CIRC was simply trying to find as many issues as it could possibly use to throw mud at me in the hope that some might stick. It is clear also that the CIRC sought to please Brian Cookson and WADA by doing this, as well as other opponents of mine (such as Sylvia Schenk, Patrice Clerc, Jean Pitallier, et al) and for that purpose the CIRC did not shrink from transgressing its published Terms of Reference .

 

The largest element of the CIRC’s Terms of Reference concerned disciplinary proceedings in the event of an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), either one that was admitted or reported to the CIRC.

On page 19, the CIRC writes that “no rider came forward to voluntarily admit an anti-doping rule violation”.

The CIRC was supposed to give riders who might have doped an opportunity to come clean, to draw a line in the sand and take a new start – and by the way, the CIRC believes that doping is still widespread, giving a lot of credit to a “respected” rider who told the CIRC that 90% of riders are still doping (see page 56 of the report).

Yet out of all of the (about 1,000) professional riders, of whom the CIRC apparently believes that 900 are still doping, not a single one came forward.

Naturally, the CIRC blames the riders and the “omerta” of the peleton. That is the easy way out. Besides, what the CIRC report says about the alleged omerta is not consistent as, not surprisingly, the omerta is portrayed as a phenomenon belonging to the past. Only a few “last remnants” (see page 79) are said to remain under the Cookson presidency.

Whatever, if the lack of rider response cannot be put down to omerta, then there must logically be other reasons why no rider was prepared to come forward to testify to the CIRC.

Was there perhaps a lack of trust in the CIRC process, given that it was put in place by Brian Cookson and by WADA?

To the extent that the CIRC’s main mission was to be some sort of ‘truth and reconciliation’ process, an invitation and an opportunity for riders to come clean, draw a line in the sand and make a new start, the CIRC is by that definition a failure.

So not only did the CIRC fail to find any evidence to support the allegations of concealed positive tests and bribery, it also flunked its mission of collecting doping confessions and substantial assistance (information from riders on anti-doping violations committed by others) and of procuring reconciliation. So time and budget could be spent on other things, in particular the negative framing of my person and my presidency.

And this brings me to another, rather bitter observation.

In November 2012, shortly after USADA’s reasoned decision in the case of Lance Armstrong and four other people, the UCI under Pat McQuaid took the initiative to set up an Independent Commission (IC), a truly independent commission the members of which were appointed by the President of CAS. (More about this later.)

The IC had written its own terms of reference, without input from UCI or from WADA, as opposed to the CIRC’s Terms of Reference, in which a “truth and reconciliation process” was not provided for. This first IC also had a more formal structure and balanced procedure, which of course also had a cost. From the very beginning, WADA and USADA proceeded to obstruct the original IC. They claimed they wanted a “truth and reconciliation process”, an idea that was also embraced by the IC as it provided, or at least they hoped it did, an additional source of information.

The inclusion of a “truth and reconciliation process” that would invite riders to come clean and also to provide substantial assistance significantly inflated the budget that the UCI had at its disposal for this IC with its judicial set-up. This explosion of costs – coupled with WADA and USADA’s refusal to cooperate if that process was not set up – forced the UCI to disband the original IC. Following this, the UCI under Pat McQuaid began negotiations with WADA to establish another independent commission that would undertake a truth and reconciliation process.

This means that the truly independent IC, one that was in particular independent from WADA, was abandoned in favour of a process that was included in the terms of reference of the CIRC, but which in fact did not take place after all.

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