/ Cycling

UCI hope to proceed with doping amnesty

Updated: Wednesday, 16 Jan 2013 17:20 | Comments

Pat McQuaid, head of the UCI
Pat McQuaid, head of the UCI

Cycling's world governing body the UCI is willing to provide an amnesty for those who give evidence to its independent commission on drug use in the sport, providing that does not contravene the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the body which investigated and disclosed the misdemeanours in which Lance Armstrong was a central protagonist, believe it is imperative witnesses give evidence "without fear of retribution or retaliation from the UCI".

WADA, USADA and Change Cycling Now, a body urging change in the governance of the sport, withdrew from the inquiry this week over the lack of a truth and reconciliation process, but now the UCI has said it is prepared to adopt that approach.

A statement from the UCI read: "The UCI confirms that it will be informing the commission at the hearing next week that it is willing to provide the necessary assurances to those coming forward with evidence relevant to the independent commission's terms of reference provided WADA confirms that such assurances would be consistent with the letter and spirit of the WADA code, or, if not, it makes the necessary changes to the code."

Earlier today the independent commission announced it would hold a public procedural hearing next week to determine whether an amnesty should be enforced, the timetable of the hearing and to consider the scope of the terms of reference, particularly those relating to the UCI and whether convicted dopers should have a future in the sport.

Tanni Grey-Thompson, Britain's 11-time Paralympic champion wheelchair racer, sits on the three-person independent commission alongside chairman Philip Otton and Malcolm Holmes QC.

The UCI expressed its belief that WADA should impose an amnesty across all sports and its hope that WADA and USADA can be persuaded to rejoin the inquiry.

Cycling's world governing body added in their statement: "The UCI has informed WADA that it would be willing to participate in a truth and reconciliation process covering all sports, or at least endurance sports, if appropriate changes were made to the WADA code.

"The scourge of doping affects all sport, not just cycling. WADA has itself recently announced a task force to address 'The ineffectiveness of the fight against doping in sport'.

"If WADA is serious about uncovering the full extent to which modern science and the limited methods of detection available to sporting bodies and anti-doping authorities (including itself) have prevented doping, it should establish a truth and reconciliation commission.

"The UCI, for one, would be happy to participate in such a process and contribute to its funding.

"That would clearly be a lengthy process. In the meantime, it is hoped that WADA and USADA will reconsider their positions and participate in the work of the independent commission, including participating in its hearing scheduled for next week."

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