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Pat McQuaid 'desperate' as election rival hits out at proposed changes to presidential race

The rule change ‘smacks of attempted dictatorship,’ says the British candidate.

McQuaid (left) and Cookson.
McQuaid (left) and Cookson.
Image: Peter Dejong/AP/Press Associationmages/Matt Dunham/AP/Press Association Images

A BID TO change the election process in the race to be head of cycling’s governing body is a sign of Pat McQuaid’s ‘desperation’ according to the Dubliner’s only rival for the job.

It emerged yesterday — via Shane Stokes of Velonews – that the Malaysian Federation and the Asian Continental Federation have proposed the removal of the requirement that presidential hopefuls by put forward by their home association.

They suggest instead that the backing of two federations should be enough to secure a spot on the ballot.

McQuaid’s bid to be elected for a third term has been hampered from the start. The Irishman has had to answer questions about his relationship with the disgraced Lance Armstrong and his actions or otherwise during the period covered in USADA’s reasoned decision.

Then Cycling Ireland delegates voted to overturn his nomination before he solicited the help of the Swiss federation, the country in which he’s resident.

British cycling chief, Brian Cookson has today written formally to the UCI’s Director General objecting to the attempts to change the electoral procedures

“The efforts to change the nomination and electoral process announced last night on behalf of the UCI Director General are a clear sign of desperation from the incumbent President, Pat McQuaid,” he says in a statement.

“This latest twist appears to be nothing more than a fraught attempt to undemocratically and unconstitutionally impact on the process while it is under way.

“It is no wonder that many in the cycling family as well as fans and sponsors have lost faith in the UCI to govern ethically when the man at the top of the organisation is prepared to embarrass an entire sport in an attempt to try and cling onto power.”

“It is surely completely out of order to allow a proposal to change an electoral procedure, once that procedure is under way. These proposals should never have been permitted onto the agenda, let alone given the validity of acceptance for the current election, especially considering that the UCI Management Committee have not even had the opportunity to discuss the matter.

“In addition to this, which I can only describe as an attempt to change the rules during the game, I note with astonishment that Pat McQuaid is now shown on the election papers as being nominated by three federations.

“The Constitution is quite clear that candidates should be nominated by their own federation. Pat is shown with the designation (IRL) next to his name but, as is well known, Cycling Ireland withdrew his nomination.

“Now we are also informed by the Director General that Pat has membership of three national federations and four if you include Ireland. How can this be? There is certainly no provision in the Constitution, as it now stands, for nomination by more than one federation.

“This is even more astonishing as I, as a properly nominated candidate, have not been given the opportunity to seek nomination by federations other than my own.

“I have asked the Director General how and why has Pat been given this opportunity? What was the process by which these nominations were permitted onto the electoral documents? Why was I not advised of this possibility and allowed to seek further nominations from federations around the world?

“It now also appears that any two national federations are to be allowed to make further nominations for the Presidency before a new deadline of 30 August. Even though under the provisions of the UCI Constitution nominations actually closed on 30 June. What sort of organisation attempts to rewrite the rules once an election has actually begun – it smacks of attempted dictatorship.

“It seems to me that, at best, all of this is bringing the validity and impartiality of the terms and conditions of the electoral process into serious question. At worst, this is beginning to look like a concerted attempt to manipulate the election in an undemocratic and unconstitutional way.

“I know that other members of the Management Committee share my concerns and this will be expressed directly to the UCI Director General. The fight for a democratic and transparent process is now on and the choice for the voters has never been clearer,” he adds.

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