Pat McQuaid might be a familiar name to you. The Irishman is President of cycling’s governing body the UCI and by definition one of the most powerful men in the sport. But he’s not the only McQuaid in the sport. Allow me to introduce the other McQuaids.
Next in the series is David McQuaid, the eldest son of Pat. He’s got a business in Ireland importing cycling gear but more interestingly he’s linked to ID Sports, an Indian business that’s behind the Mumbai Cyclothon.
The Cyclothon is criterium in Mumbai, India’s largest city, that was held for the first time in February. Despite being a 100km city centre criterium, it’s got aims of joining the ProTour and recently recruited David McQuaid as a race director. The ID Sports website lists a short bio of David, including the following:
Since exiting the competitive ranks, he has gained immense experience from an organisational role. Ten years at the HC ranked Tour de Langkawi, four years at the famous Tour de France and 3 years as Finish Director at the UCI 2.1 Tour of Ireland.
That’s a decent background for a race organiser, experience in Malaysia’s Tour of Langkawi, being the boss at the finish line for the Tour of Ireland and most impressive, a stint at the Tour de France, presumably ASO.
But I can’t help wondering if the most advantageous part of David’s CV, not mentioned on the bio, is his father. He’s got a direct line to the UCI President and clearly ambitious race promoters know this, hiring a McQuaid to act on your behalf might opens doors that have so far been jammed shut.
Let’s look at this from another angle. Imagine a government minister responsible for defence who has a family member in a top job at a weapons manufacturer. Imagine a pharmaceutical regulator married to the head of sales in a large biotech company. Nobody says these relationships can’t exist, but when people are given public trust, there have to be safeguards to protect against cronyism. Mechanisms exist to ensure a conflict of interest can’t arise. And if evidence of cronyism appears, often a politician or public official is forced to resign in shame.
In the Aigle’s nest
I’d like to know whether safeguards are enforced within the UCI, for example do so-called chinese walls exist to ensure family life doesn’t overlap with business? I’d like to know if meetings between related parties are minuted and available for inspection. Even simple things, like does Pat McQuaid step out of the room when any business concerning David, or a race he is linked to, gets discussed?
All these are basic safeguards and you’d hope a large sports governing body would ensure it is run in a professional way, rather than being a family business.