“I’ve read what they’ve said but as they’re not licence holders so I don’t know how they can ban them or what they can be banned for”
“From the UCI’s point of view we can’t see how these guys can be sanctioned for life,” said McQuaid. “They are not UCI licence holders, so under what grounds can they be sanctioned?”
Those are the words of the Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s governing body, the UCI. The first quote is after speaking to cyclingnews.com, the second is after speaking to Velonews. He was commenting today on the lifetime ban issued by the US Anti-Doping Agency to Luis Garcia del Moral, Michele Ferrari and Jose “Pepe” Martí, all three staff or helpers of the US Postal Cycling team.
Only President McQuaid needs to check the UCI rulebook . The anti-doping code applies to all licence holders, that is obvious. But Article 18 says it applies to all team staff as well, even if they have no team licence. So there are good grounds for the UCI to apply USADA’s ban worldwide.
Here is the relevant rule (my emphasis)
18. 1. a) Any Person who, without being a holder of a license, participates in a cycling Event in any capacity whatsoever, including, without limitation, as a rider, coach, trainer, manager, team director, team staff, agent, official, medical or para-medical personnel or parent and;
b) Any Person who, without being a holder of a license, participates, in the framework of a club, trade team, national federation or any other structure participating in Races, in the preparation or support of riders for sports competitions; shall be subject to these Anti-Doping Rules and these Anti-Doping Rules shall apply to each such Person as they apply to a License-Holder.
In short it is stated that the UCI has clear jurisdiction over non-licence holders and the rule even specifies medical staff. Given the demonstrable roles of the trio as team staff and their wrongdoing I don’t understand why the President thinks he can’t do anything. If USADA has imposed a lifetime ban on these three for their cycling-related anti-doping violations then the UCI should be studying USADA’s ruling with urgent attention with a view to applying the ban worldwide.
For for sure this is a complicated topic with many nationalities, jurisdictions, rules and codes. But Article 18 is clear, even if the US Postal trio don’t hold a licence, they can still be banned. And see the recent case with Jan Ullrich who was banned despite having dropped his racing licence some time ago.
It all seems rather odd. You’d expect the UCI to be horrified to learn that there was a systematic doping programme in a top-level cycling team. You’d expect it to be working hard so those who have accepted their role in this corruption are distanced from cycling. Yet President McQuaid appears not to know his own rulebook and rather disinterested, saying it’s merely for the Americans.
Note this is not UCI-bashing. We all make mistakes but when a president of a sports governing body appears not to know the rules it does not look too pro. A strong UCI is one where the staff are fluent in the rules. The USADA case is highly significant and more than ever the president needs be well-briefed on this matter rather than blundering.
The main thing is that actions speak louder than words and the UCI quickly reviews the USADA verdict and works to ensure the trio are banned from going near any cyclist on the planet.
UPDATE (Thursday): the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a polite reminder – albeit in public – to the UCI last night that it should act on the USADA verdict. Namely it can either enforce the ruling or it can appeal it. But it should not pretend to ignore it. Full text here.