Cookson’s 100 Days

Monday, 6 January 2014

It might be round number from the decimal system but over the years various political administrations and managerial careers have been reviewed after just 100 days. In this spirit it was 100 days ago that Brian Cookson rode the train from Florence to Aigle to start work as UCI President. What’s happened and what’s next?

Listening to the Eurosport podcast’s review of the year, I was reminded that the election process on the day was a farce. Held in the same building where Niccolò Machiavelli once held office, at times the UCI Congress was more Franz Kafka than power politics, at one moment there was the tautological vote to decide whether they should vote on an issue. Arguably Cookson’s first act of power was standing up to say “We’ve had enough of this. I propose that we go straight to the vote between the two candidates” which delivered him the necessary 24 votes.

Cookson assumed power on the spot and in no time the gumshoes of private security agency Kroll were instructed to secure the UCI’s computer system, apparently taking Pat McQuaid’s laptop. The former President denied this, instead it seems a back-up copy was made of the UCI’s servers.

DNF
If Kroll went in, others got their marching orders. Belgian laywer Philippe Verbiest was never a UCI employee but had been retained as legal counsel and a mastermind behind tactical blunders like suing Paul Kimmage or thwarting USADA’s case against Lance Armstrong and his US Postal colleagues. Cookson needed little time to tell Verbiest his services were no longer required. Another departure was Christophe Hubschmid, the UCI Director General who helped Pat McQuaid’s awkward search for a nomination. Viewed from afar Hubschmid seemed to cross a line, bending the UCI’s Constitution to suit the incumbent rather than upholding the principles and Cookson seemed to take the same view. Less one-sided during the campaign, Devra Pitt Gétaz has also left the UCI’s communications department.

In came Martin Gibbs, Cookson’s policy director at British Cycling, as the new Director General. Tracy Gaudry was a new Vice President and every UCI Commission, jargon for committee, now includes one woman. It’s a start to balancing things but a long way to go: how about abolishing the UCI rule that states the World Championships must have six “maids of honor” to deliver the medals? Meanwhile Swiss lawyer Antonio Rigozzi has been appointed as legal councillor, an ironic choice given he worked for many a cyclist in anti-doping cases brought by the UCI; he’s an expert on sports law and arbitration but one wish for the Cookson’s term is less prominence for lawyers.

Truth and Reconciliation
Cookson’s biggest drive has been the idea of a “Truth and Reconciliation” process. The name is all wrong, conjuring thoughts of a South African process for forgiveness but any plans have to be framed by the WADA rules. For now the international anti-doping agency seems unwilling to bend its rules to suit the UCI’s agenda meaning amnesty looks no more possible tomorrow than it was yesterday, only “substantial assistance” will be considered when mitigating a ban. Think instead of the Independent Commission plan to investigate what went on in the past and we should get an update on its composition in the coming days. It’ll be useful to learn from the past – why wasn’t Armstrong disqualified in the 1999 Tour – but each passing day sees this time look less and less relevant.

Meanwhile with someone high in the UCI seeming to brief the British press about “dynamite” you wonder if there’s added motivation to get back at Pat McQuaid for the torment he created during the campaign last summer? Certainly due process doesn’t include briefing the newspapers.

“Cookson denies power has gone to his head”

Franc
Talking of payback of the monthly kind the UCI President’s salary is now public knowledge. The news release was loaded with a reference to Pat McQuaid’s salary and media reports stated Cookson would “take a pay cut”. Only since he’d never had a UCI salary before there was no cut. He’s on a headline salary of 340,000 Swiss Francs (US$375,000 / €275,000). It was a tilt at McQuaid and a sneaky way to say “this is a big number but lower than the past”. It’s a great wage but if you think it’s astronomical, note Switzerland is an enclave of high pay and high prices too, supermarket cashiers earn 48,000 Francs a year ($45,000 / €33,000) and a pizza and coke can cost you more than anywhere else in the world. The headline salary is one part of Cookson’s package, it’s traditional that he gets a house on top of the salary, something of considerable value too.

Calendar Shake-Up
As previously the President of the Road Commission in the UCI, Cookson’s a signed-up member of the plans to shake-up the calendar by 2020 so it’s hard to see much change here. However we’re still waiting to learn the fate of GCP, the UCI’s in-house race promotion arm that loses money faster than the UCI can infuse it with cash. GCP promotes the Tour of Beijing, an event that can’t get a break whether its air pollution, denying teams with Japanese sponsors or fears of contaminated meat. You sense GCP could turn a corner to make profit but will Cookson wait or give up this obvious conflict of interest? All will be revealed by the “International Development Commission”.

Independent anti-doping
An independent anti-doping effort was another campaign pledge. There’s an audit of procedures at the moment prior to creating this. But the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) is UCI agency already with separate legal identity. Someone once told me this was in case the UCI was taken to the cleaners, the CADF could be bankrupted but not bring down the whole governing body, an interesting theory. But the CADF was hardly independent, housed in the UCI and its most senior director was a certain P McQuaid. Cookson’s not a director and it looks like the CADF will be pushed further outside the UCI but it’s all a matter of degree, it’s likely to remain dependent on the UCI for funding but it could be operationally independent. If you see what I mean.

Transparency
President McQuaid had his strengths but dealing with the media wasn’t his best area. As a result interviews were rare and often defensive. By contrast Brian Cookson seems more relaxed in front of the cameras although the UCI’s communications, Its social media efforts look very rigid.

And we’ve not seen this allegation cleared up. I gather the proof was an email apparently from one of Cookson’s supporters on the UCI management committee but others have whispered about a fake email account, a possible smear attempt. It would be good to clear up.

Conclusion
Many a politician can flounder in their first 100 days, restrained by the checks and balances of democracy and caught out by their excessive campaign pledges. The UCI President is far more powerful with fewer roadblocks and Brian Cookson didn’t need to promise the earth to win the job either.

So far nothing seems to have gone wrong since September, a point to note given the UCI’s previous propensity for accidents. Since taking the train to Aigle Cookson’s launched a flotilla of audits and initiatives meaning the real decisions are postponed, sensible to review before deciding. But women’s cycling should benefit from increased representation and the goodwill resulting from change is opening doors for the sport as a whole.

Able to shape the sport, improve the UCI’s reputation all whilst being well-paid, this could be the best job in sports administration. The leadership might have changed but many of the UCI’s problems have been institutional, for example the way it handles a conflict of interest shouldn’t depend on the President or whoever they’ve appointed to run the Ethics Committee. So far so good but it’s the next 1,000 days and beyond that count.

  • Hat tip to Dan Craven, aka @DanFromNam for the Cookson photo from the UCI African championships Egypt
Igam Ogam January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for the overview. Lets hope things improve.

Dan Curran January 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Inrng – firstly Happy New year to you.

What’s your view on Cookson so far? It seems to me he’s got rid of a number of people which is both good and quick . . . but also easy. In terms of things he’s actually achieved, however, I growing slightly concerned that nothing tangible is being really delivered.

Runty Wilson January 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Great snap from Dan Craven, always liked the cut of his gib. I haven’t seen his name around much recently.

Tricky Hawes January 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm

In reply to Dan Curran – hasn’t inrng just given his view, in the blog you’re commenting on? Summarised in the final sentence – “So far so good but it’s the next 1,000 days and beyond that count.”

The Inner Ring January 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Yes, that’s it. So far so good and just not tripping up is an improvement. New staff including a clear out of some of those behind questionable moves is good etc. But the hard decisions are still to come. He risks being unpopular for the calendar changes with fans and federations and the “Truth and Reconciliation” label might have people’s hopes up for something too sweeping than is possible.

Sim1 January 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Its not a Truth and Reconciliation label any more, as Cookson has said in recent interviews. And thank goodness, as that’s something of an insult to what happened in SA.

LM January 6, 2014 at 5:52 pm

What he has most often presented as his model was the American Baseball’s “Mitchell Report” which was a complete and utterly ineffective waste of time and money.

Add Omerta (and the fact that confessing to something you haven’t been caught doing benefits absolutely no one) to the equation and the result is a long, boring charade of a parade of the dumb and unlucky getting even by taking someone else down with them. Just like LA finally accusing Weisel but still protecting Carmichael. Not that there aren’t cheaters who have come clean a la Zabriskie and Hincapie… but, honestly, cheaters don’t generally make the most reliable witnesses.

While T n R’s value is questionable (I think we’ve established by now that Pro Cycling is a dirty sport just like every other sport), there is no turning back from a full investigation of the past without raising additional suspicions. But, what would really instill confidence is to spend all that budget on a full public investigation of the entire present administration and teams’ staff, from Cookson on down to every soigner.

With a publicly and fully vetted sport, every fan, sponsor and investor will know exactly what they’re watching. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

Modern man January 7, 2014 at 6:22 am

Putting an Aussie tone on things, and assuming an unrepresentative view here, but fans are sick of the haphazard nature of dealing with past cheats.

In Oz, we have Neil Stephens being lauded as the greatest guy in the world because he is good tactically, no mention that he was a terrible drug cheat on the bike, and now ‘starring’ in GreenEdge backstage passes while every one of us throws things at the screen. One of the worst dopers in my view, because he perpetuated it by working closely with Mainolo Sainz for years.

His ‘partner’ in the team car Matt White ‘did’ a six month suspension and copped some flack in the media for being a cheat. I say ‘did’ because it isn’t clear if he was given a holiday on full pay by the team or not.

Stuart O’Grady is burning through any goodwill he has left by treating fans as fools, claiming he ‘never inhaled’ etc.

Robbie McEwen raced against and beat riders like Zabel, and other worse dopers, and ended his career with Lance and Katusha. Hmmm. He has recently left a role with OGE also, and there are rumours that he was moved on because he bit the hand that fed him rather than his version that he has moved on to bigger and better things.

GreenEdge has good clean young riders in this environment, spedning a lot of time with these mentors.

Whatever you call it, a truth and reconciliation tribunal that makes these fess up is badly needed. Clearly they are not going to do so themselves, because they are all still on the gravy train. If they can still make a living, but are forced to be honest for once, then that is what is needed.

LM January 7, 2014 at 6:47 am

Agreed on the haphazard nature, but lifetime bans would create a vacuum and to put it a different way, all we’ve learned is that cycling is a dirty sport, just like other sports.

The only way to truly Begin to clean up the sport is with GPS monitoring bracelets; 24/7/365 random, targeted and scheduled testing, reward money for information leading to convictions and information regarding the latest and greatest doping techniques. Monitor their phone, email, etc., monitor their bank account.

Assume that your favorite rider is a doper and there is the slimmest of chances you’ll be lucky enough to be wrong.

Modern man January 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Sorry LM but I’m not advocating the increased monitoring and testing of riders, but the administration and team management.

With terrible administrators like Verbruggen and McQuaid, it’s no wonder the sport is riddled with ex cheats. I counted over 30 on current Pro teams (Team boss, DS, doctors, etc.) who were either once caught as a rider, or directed teams with systematic doping programmes, or had so many strikes it wasn’t funny (working on dodgy team after dodgy team).

Put these guys through the process too. I’m not saying remove them from the sport, but have them acknowledged as cheats at least, then have 2nd chance you’re out rules, etc. especially for them.

Carn Soaks January 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Whatever the Athletes, do, the TRC “or whatever” the focus should be on enablers. The managers, doctors, pharmacists and sorts med specialists. They are making sure only dopers make the grade. You didn’t make the Grade in certain teams, unless you doped.
It’s obvious who should get the bans. 85% of team officialdom from 1994 – 2007.
They should all come clean. Promise to stop pushing young athletes with the Line, “You’ll ride faster, longer, uncut”, and be told to STAY TRUE to the new cause.
ANYONE who DENIES wrongdoing, should get booted from the sport.
That way, we’ll have NO LOSS of staff, but they’ll all keep their heads down and make sure it’s lean from now on. WATCH THEM CLOSELY. Make them fund the program that checks on them, or get out.

Cillian Kelly January 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

With respect to the matter of Greece being offered €25,000 to back Cookson…

I’ve seen ‘evidence’ about others who purportedly received bribes for their part in the UCI elections.

The ‘evidence’ is emails which I know to be lies and utter nonsense.

In light of this, I would take the Greek bribe allegations with a pinch of salt. There’s a reason that no media outlet has published this ‘evidence’.

LM January 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm

All you’re doing here is spreading more rumors, saying nothing while alluding to “something” with raised eyebrows. This was and is the M.O. of the Cookson camp and campaign.

If you or any of Cookson’s cronies have facts, spit them out. If not, keep quiet and go back to your dank cave.

Sam January 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm

‘All you’re doing here is spreading more rumors, saying nothing while alluding to “something” with raised eyebrows’ – given your own MO when posting here, that really is the pot calling the kettle black.

As for your last sentence…if you can’t be civil, then dont post

LM January 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm

You must be blue from all the KoolAid you’ve guzzled down….

The Inner Ring January 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I’m sure Cillian doesn’t live in a cave so please keep the tone conversational. What he is saying clearly is that some emails claiming to involve bribes are phoney.

LM January 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm

There is little that is more disgusting than claiming to have viewed evidence of someone’s illegal behavior or slander or, in this case, libel without providing proof.

What he said clearly was he has seen emails of accusations that are lies and so the un-investigated or unresolved allegations of the Greeks is probably not true as well.

I’m calling him out. If he can’t provide proof of his statements, there’s a pretty good chance that he’s lying, no?

andrewp January 6, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Is there any practical difference between Cillian’s claim (accepting you’re claim they are not “backed up” for the purposes of this comment) that the emails are bogus and the claims that the emails were genuine in the first place (iirc also not “backed up”)?

Or is the difference in the eye of the beholder and their preference for what they want to be true?

LM January 6, 2014 at 10:43 pm

@Andrew, Yes, there is a difference.

Inrng pointed out that a legitimate allegation of an offer of money in exchange for a vote for Cookson has been unresolved. This was, I believe, a public allegation and an official complaint supported by some form of documentation.

Kelly claims to have read unrelated emails claiming paid bribes in return for votes in the same election and goes on to claim that he knows those emails to be lies. Therefore, he states “in light of this…” (his undocumented claims), the Greek allegations must be suspect too.

He goes on to infer “There’s a reason that no media outlet has published this ‘evidence’”, alluding again that the Greek allegations are untrue. I don’t pretend to know the whole story of this particular incident, but it is most likely that there has been no media mention because the media doesn’t have any information. Maybe it’s still under investigation or maybe the present administration doesn’t want anyone to know that their supporters were bribing for votes. Greek Cycling is probably in enough hot water after the allegation and McQ’s loss that they’re not going to make anymore noise.

It’s important to understand who Cillian Kelly is; a software engineer for a company, Xanadu of Cork, who’s claim to fame is software for online sports betting (the number one root of the number two problem in sport, game fixing), he’s a frustrated, want to be cycling journalist who took the road antithetical to this site and started his very own Cycling Blog, Irish Peloton.

He has been a longtime Irish Pub Pat detractor, who along with Moran, McGrane, Atkinson and Gill wrote a document called The Pat McQuaid File. The documents main argument against McQ was that, despite a record of doing more for doping controls and testing and catching more dopers during his tenure than any of his predecessors, he wasn’t doing enough. He was part of a group who fanned the flames of a technicality discovered by Anto Moran in order to hold the Irish Cycling EGM that reversed McQ’s nomination. He was happy to bandy about the allegations of “the dossier” (remember that? Unresolved as well…).

[edit: this part of the comment was deleted because it was unpleasant]

What is most disgusting regarding all the slander and animosity toward McQ, is that it’s predominantly founded in jealousy and resentment toward the McQuaid family’s success in the business of cycling.

I am the first to admit that Pat was responsible for his own undoing, shooting himself in the foot so many times he’s toe-less. But if Cookson had run in a fair election with each judged by the merits of their record and their proposals, he wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on.

andrewp January 7, 2014 at 12:49 am

Dear LM

If ever I wished I hadnt made a comment – it was the day it was answered like that.

A quicker answer still may have been – “No”.
You still fail to provide any linkable account of an “official” complaint and with the lack of any voice of an affected complainant speaking to/promoting their case (or even mentioning it in passing) anywhere in the cloud there is perfectly good reason to presuppose they may not even be a formal complaint. You yourself are left with “beliefs”, using terms like “legitmate” without anything solid to back that up, put words in others mouths, and end up concocting spurious scenarios why this may all be so. Or, it would appear – it is in the eye of the beholder.

Instead you are quite happy to make an ad hominem attack and provide a diatribe why Mr Kelly should apparently be disbelieved just for existing. All of which does you no credit, has none (to less) relevance to the price of fish, and seem to be directly against the express wishes of the blogger who’s site you sully with it. At least Mr Kelly, unlike you or I, provides his real name when leaving a comment – which I suppose allows for such an unnecessary ad hominem attack to occur.
You, however, have chosen to make such an attack behind a cloak of anonymity, asking us to take a lot of what you say at face value (regardless of its veracity or verifiability) – which is what you were denigrating Mr Kelly for in the first place.

Though it would appear you are willing to put more effort into your ad hominem attack than supporting your suppositions such as they are (as there does appear a link to some story or other – havent clicked it so wouldnt know). I find that rather telling.

LM January 7, 2014 at 3:51 am

Read Kelly’s post again.

He’s read some emails stating that someone got paid for Cookson support and he says they’re a lie. Therefore, he concludes, a complaint by Greek Cycling, with evidence, alleging an offer of a bribe in return for a Cookson vote must be false as well.

I’m sorry this confuses you, but they are two different cases; one is a real incident, the other is Cillian Kelly’s word. The rest of the my account of the Kelly story are just facts as well, I’m sorry you can’t face them. I believe Cillian Kelly is a dishonest, unethical person.

You didn’t ask me for a linkable account; but, do your own homework, use the internet… the Greek bribery allegation is not some secret. I use “I believe” when I’m not sure if I remember the exact facts and I’m too lazy to do your research for you. The scenarios I presented aren’t spurious, they are the two most plausible.

My attack is not ad hominem, my point is this tactic of Kelly is sleazy and dishonest. As to my anonymity, that’s my right, isn’t it? Cillian Kelly has chosen to link his name to his blog in self promotion so that you will visit and read more of his muck raking yellow journalism.

To the rest of your criticism of my thoughts, knowledge and opinions: do some of your own homework, I use Google when I’m lazy, you’ll find that I didn’t cut and paste and my memory is not photographic, but I’m close. If you were just being smart, asking a rhetorical question, I’m sorry you misread his original post and haven’t been back to check.

Wato January 7, 2014 at 10:38 am

“I’m calling him out. If he can’t provide proof of his statements, there’s a pretty good chance that he’s lying, no?”

Why don’t you apply this form of reasoning to the Sky claim also? If they can’t provide proof of their statements, there’s a pretty good chance that they’re lying, no?

I don’t agree with the original post from Cillian as I think it just adds nothing and is purely scuttlebutt. However, we are all intelligent enough to draw our own conclusions about these kinds of comments. There is just no need to be rude our to bring up someone’s past which is entirely unrelated and, to be frank, pathetic. You have come off looking rude, obnoxious, aggressive and have completely undermined what your original intention was – to discredit the original post.

TLDR – Take a breath and ease up.

The Inner Ring January 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Just to make things clear, there’s more than one Kelly in Ireland and a quick search of the web reveals plenty of Cillian Kellys, from students to photographers across Ireland and beyond.

These wild allegations surely make the person inventing the claims look bad.

channel_zero January 6, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Buying votes is not illegal and done regularly in other IOC sports. HOW they are bought may be designed to get around some UCI rules, or those rules ignored like so many of them at the UCI. Just understand that votes are regularly bought and sold.

Makarov’s claim that there’s a company that licenses the phrase “Tour of ….” was never followed-up on either. Makarov was told, apparently by the UCI, he must license the title “Tour of Russia” for a WorldTour event he has been trying to organize for years.

If you, Inr Ring, are interested in the story, I’d like to know how Belkin can get around the rule that jerseys are not allowed to be changed in order to sell temporary space on the Belkin jersey. Is the UCI creatively re-interpreting their own rules again???

The Inner Ring January 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm

I’ve been following the Russian story too.

As for the jersey, the design has to stay the same but the rules don’t state the jersey has to be identical. Merely swapping the logos for co-sponsors isn’t a big change and Belkin say the UCI have agreed this. We’ve seen it happen before and it makes sense with sponsors wanting to target different markets, eg Sky used to have a subtly different Italian kit; I think Cofidis had the Spanish telephone hotline number on their jerseys in the Vuelta etc

Modern man January 7, 2014 at 6:35 am

I’m still staggered at the defence of Pat McQuaid by LM.

A measure of the ‘man’ Pat McQuaid is his revolting and selfish move to race in South Africa during the apartheid era, against worldwide bans. While the rest of the world chose sporting bans as a means to tell SA that aparthied was not acceptable, Pat McQuaid thought he would sneak in and race under a false name. He was rumbled by a journo who recognised him.

If you can’t see the conflict in having your sons manage riders, races, and bids while you are in charge of the whole shooting match, then you are sillier than I think. Nepotism, plain and simple. No Council, government, or company would allow it, but Pat did it for years and years.

Ding dong the witch is dead. Deal with it.

LM January 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Said the proud man from a country peopled by the descendants of convicts who have so marginalized the indigenous population that it looks a lot like genocide… See how complicated life is really?

As to your OZ comment; it always was a witch hunt.

Modern man January 7, 2014 at 11:54 pm

A bit touchy there LM, but you’ll have to do better than using a schoolyard taunt. Made me laugh though, and it did make you look very silly. Well done on using big words too.

David January 16, 2014 at 3:35 am

LM – You really need to go and have a long, hard look at Australian history . . . wow.

Adam January 16, 2014 at 3:31 am

Very true @channel_zero. I find the hypocrisy of people complaining about the buying of votes to be laughable – especially when they essentially sell their vote (to whichever political party will reward them best) every time there’s an election.

Sim1 January 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Good Cookson interview with Andrew Hood at Velonews
http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/01/news/the-first-100-days-ucis-brian-cookson_312457?utm_medium=whats-hot

and

UCI have just announced details of the Independent Commission inc the names of the 3 people to serve on the Commission, to be released in the next few days

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/16125/UCI-Independent-Commission-announcement-to-come-within-a-week.aspx#ixzz2pd1BEnU8

MM1 January 6, 2014 at 5:22 pm

100 days. Not a fair comparison I know, but in 100 days Napoleon returned from exile on Elba to rule France, raised an Army and was defeated at Waterloo. I guess local government officers are not quite made of the same stuff as the little corporal and cycling is sort of complicated…isn’t it?

Birillo January 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm

. . . and after 1000 days? Imprisoned on St. Helena.

Anonymous January 7, 2014 at 9:30 am

And his hat was better than that collapsed bean bag effort Cookson’s trying to pull off above.

Adam January 16, 2014 at 3:37 am

@MM1 – So Napoleon’s net result after flailing around Europe for 100 days was to end up right where he started (same s*it, different island . . .). I hope that’s not the mandate you want followed.

othersteve January 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Although not the Titanic, the UCI should be given some time at least 365 days to show us how the deck chairs are to be rearranged.

Bon Appetit , to all for the new pro road season ahead,

Glasses January 6, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Well, I think appointing Antonio Rigozzi as the legal council is a true desaster. Remember, Rigozzi is part of a law firm that has defended Contador, Vinokourov, Rasmussen.. He has not resigned from the firm, he is still working there. They are busy defending athletes of other federations in doping cases. Only recently, Rigozzi was the lawyer defending an athlete at CAS against the IAAF in a case involving the biological passport (Bekele Degfa).
Needless to say that it is hard not to believe in a certain knowledge transfer here.. It is impossible that information that he gains during his time at the UCI (and the related expertise) will not influence his actions as a member of his old law firm.
I think this a MAJOR set back for anti doping within the system, but no one seems to really care or notice.
There must be other lawyers out there who could do a good job?

andrewp January 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Alternatively you can look at the profile from the University he lectures at

“Antonio Rigozzi, born in 1969, teaches sports law and arbitration law at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and is a partner in the law firm Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler. His research and teaching focuses on international arbitration and sports law, and everything in between. Author of a comprehensive treatise on sports arbitration, he also is the editor in charge of the sports law section of the Swiss law journal JusLetter, a member of the sports law scientific board of the Swiss Lawyers Association and of the Swiss Arbitration Association. He has been a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School and holds a summa cum laude Ph.D., a Master of Laws and a J.D. from Geneva University Law School; he also graduated from the Graduate Institute of International Studies”

or contemplate that Lord Beloff – a CAS arbitrator – has represented all 3 major political parties in the UK as well as groups such as the National Front, Liberty & Charter 88. Others as diverse as Moors Murderer Ian Brady and the government of Iraq (when Hussein was in charge). And then maybe recognise a client list rarely provides an accurate picture of the person representing them. Noting that Beloff is an arbitrator and he still acts for clients in the sports law arena.

And then perhaps put such fears aside and perhaps contemplate that the UCI may have just retained a supremely well qualified lawyer, who may well do a very good job.

Glasses January 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

No doubt he is qualified, that is not the point. The issue is a potential conflict of interest and sharing of information with his law firm, which might represent athletes that the UCI is pursuing.
There must be other lawyers without such potential conflicts out there.

Re Beloff: There is now a policy at CAS that only arbitrators without any links to the parties can be appointed.

andrewp January 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm

The term conflict of interest gets bandied about so regularly in a tone of voice like such “conflicts” have never been encountered before or cant be managed.

The criminal bar in UK is organised as such that members of the same chambers can and do represent the prosecution and defence in the same case. Ideal? – no, can it be professionally managed? – yes. It also assumes that this issue hasn’t occurred both to the lawyer in question and the rest of his immediate colleagues prior to him assenting to the the position offered – and that they haven’t worked out the professional and financial implications of his taking the appointment.

The “conflict” you raise re sharing information is just as likely to happen over a lunch, in a bar, at a dinner party without the lawyers in question having some professional standards to abide by. Whilst it is easy to imagine, and indeed argue, that all lawyers are moral free gobshites -in reality that isn’t true and many would rather stick to the professional standards required and keep earning the money that adhering to them brings them.

I fail to see where a suitably qualified person would come from who didn’t have a prior connection to a law firm of significance that has been litigating major sports law cases. Then narrow that field down to someone with detailed knowledge of swiss federal law also (as that is the seat of most IFs and the CAS) and the pool gets even smaller. So pick a name, any name, and raise the same objection. Or put it in one phrase – Lawyer, don’t trust him. Seems to be the only real objection. At some point have to pick someone, put those concerns aside – and then manage the person you appoint regardless.

Igam Ogam January 6, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Isn’t this a classic case of ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’?

Glasses January 6, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Oh, I forgot: He defended the athlete at CAS while he was already appointed at the UCI!

Sam January 6, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Its immaterial. The role with the UCI is not a full-time paid position. And even so, what has him defending a track and field athlete, got to do with the UCI?

Glasses January 7, 2014 at 6:37 am

Well, he is facing the same experts and prosecution lawyers he might be supervising on a UCI case the next week. It is very odd that this is accepted in the legal world, but not anywhere else. Think of members of the government being executives in companies that run for government tenders or bids.. Ethically to be questioned

Nick January 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm

You would expect him to be conflicted out of taking similar cases from now on.

Qwerty January 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm

“the UCI rule that states the World Championships must have “six “maids of honor” to deliver the medals?”

Is this for real?

The Inner Ring January 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Yes, and it’s not three or five but six and the rulebook specifically states “maids of honor” too.

Tom January 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Jeepers.

Anonymous January 7, 2014 at 9:31 am

Is it true Pat gets to check whether they are truly maids?

Drago January 7, 2014 at 12:30 am

If the general impression is there is a conflict of interest, then there is a conflict of interest.

Whiff January 8, 2014 at 12:26 am

Perhaps the best thing about the last 100 days has been that, thankfully, Pat McQuaid has kept a low profile and we no longer have to put up with regular reports of his latest idiotic actions.

Mark January 8, 2014 at 9:38 am

Is Verbruggen still an Honorary President as that linked article suggests ?

If so…how/why ?

The Inner Ring January 8, 2014 at 9:45 am

I haven’t checked but gather the title is awarded for life and it would take something explosive to make him surrender it. The question is whether he still attends UCI business and if he had been active during McQuaid’s time apparently he’s not now.

Sam January 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

I think I read an interview with Cookson that in lieu of Verbruggen giving up the title, it could be put to the UCI Congress next Oct to vote to remove it from him

Sam January 8, 2014 at 10:49 am

Sorry – I mean, Sep

Conor McGrane January 15, 2014 at 10:53 pm

LM I’m not too sure what the libel laws are like in other countries such as for example Norway , but in Ireland to accuse someone incorrectly of being an IRA member is not only libel but can also put peoples lives at risk.
I can only advise you to take up mindfulness or some other form of relaxation and stop making scurrilous accusations while hiding behind a pseudonym.
To quote Forrest Gump ” stupid is as stupid does”

Anto Moran January 15, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Well said Conor. If LM actually read what Cillian said he didnt mention anything about bribes for votes.
“I’ve seen ‘evidence’ about others who purportedly received bribes for their part in the UCI elections.” but sure was Florence awash with accusations of payments etc.

Anto

Anto Moran January 15, 2014 at 11:28 pm

I thought all this shite was over back in september ?????

The Inner Ring January 7, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Enough please LM, it reads like you’re trying to provoke people rather than chat about the sport and its issues. As ever, please play the ball and not the man.

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