/ Cycling

ICU presidential challenger Brian Cookson critical of Pat McQuaid's regime

Updated: Monday, 05 Aug 2013 10:54 | Comments

Brian Cookson in Paris last month
Brian Cookson in Paris last month

International Cycling Union presidential challenger Brian Cookson has called for an end to the "Wild-West style of governance" of incumbent Pat McQuaid by imploring the sport to vote for change next month.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Cookson described McQuaid's nomination by the Malaysian federation, which was made public last week after his failure to be nominated by Cycling Ireland and the legal challenge to his Swiss nomination, as a "farce".

The nomination came after the closing date, but McQuaid insisted no rules had been broken.

"Any sport will struggle to expect its competitors to respect the rules when they are bent, broken or altered in the president's office," British Cycling president Cookson wrote.

"This has to stop. The sport desperately needs a fair and dignified presidential election contest and these actions have put that into serious doubt.

"Sadly, it is what we have come to expect from the current leadership where even the president's salary is a mystery."

Cookson, a member of the UCI management committee, says he was asked to approve the world governing body's budget, without being permitted to know McQuaid's salary.

"Nothing is more real and more urgent than for the UCI to restore confidence and credibility and to provide leadership to be proud of" - Brian Cookson

Cookson believes such lack of transparency has been problematic throughout the recent leadership of the UCI, including in relation to doping - or anti-doping - procedures, such as the now-infamous acceptance of a cheque for $100,000 from Lance Armstrong, who last year was stripped of seven Tour de France titles.

"The presidential campaign has shown that cycling is facing a crossroads and a choice that will have a major impact on the future of our sport on many different fronts," Cookson added.

"Cycling can either stick with the behaviour patterns and mistakes of the past - the fudges, the deals behind closed doors, the nods, the winks - or choose a future in which it is run along the principles of accountability, transparency and clear lines of responsibility as described in my election manifesto 'Restoring Trust, Leading Change'.

"This is not an abstract debate but something essential for our sport to win back the trust of fans, sponsors, broadcasters, race organisers and those who cycle clean.

"Nothing is more real and more urgent than for the UCI to restore confidence and credibility and to provide leadership to be proud of.

"There is an alternative to the current regime and the time is right for change."

McQuaid declined the opportunity to respond to Cookson's comments.

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