Pat McQuaid remains defiant after Swiss cycling setback
Other federations opposed to UCI president consider a legal challenge
Pat McQuaid’s bid for a third term as president of the International Cycling Union has suffered a further setback after Swiss Cycling confirmed it has withdrawn its nomination of him. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Pat McQuaid’s chance of becoming UCI president for a third term took a serious hit this week when he lost the support of a second national federation. As with Cycling Ireland in June, McQuaid’s nomination by Swiss Cycling was officially rescinded yesterday, with the federation saying it would no longer back him.
Although the development could theoretically prove fatal to his chances, the Irish man was insisting last night that he would fight on and would be able to stand for election at the UCI Congress in September.
In addition, he called on his rival Brian Cookson and others he termed adversaries to hold off on any legal challenges between now and the election.
“This election will be decided by the voting delegates at the UCI Congress in Florence, Italy on September 27th despite attempts by him [Cookson] and those who support his campaign to eliminate me from the contest,” said McQuaid in a statement.
McQuaid and Cookson’s need for nomination to stand is based on article 51 of the UCI Constitution. That states, “the candidates for the presidency shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate.” Many interpret this as meaning the home federation of the candidate, but McQuaid insisted on July 31st that it could relate to any federation the candidate was a member of.
In what appeared a pre-emptive move, prior to any complications with a Swiss backing that had been legally challenged, he said then that he was a member of “six or seven” federations. He added that a further two of them, Morocco and Thailand, had echoed the Swiss federation he joined in May in nominating him prior to the deadline of June 29th.
Swiss Cycling had been due to face a legal challenge today before an arbitration panel. Taken by three general members of the federation and financially backed by the Skins clothing company, a firm which had made clear its opposition to a third term by him, it was aiming to tackle the Swiss nomination on several grounds.
With several of Swiss Cycling’s board members already unsure about backing McQuaid and the federation facing potential legal costs, a majority decided to pull the nomination.
“This was apparently a snap decision in the face of mounting pressure from the company who financed the challenge to my Swiss nomination and whose actions threatened to condemn the Swiss Cycling Federation to financial ruin had it proceeded to an arbitration hearing and lost,” he said yesterday.
The Irish Times understands that other federations opposed to McQuaid are considering a legal challenge relating to his interpretation of article 51.
McQuaid has insisted that he will prevail. “My other nominations from the Thai Cycling Association and the Fédération Royal Marocaine are valid and were all received in accordance with the UCI rules by the designated closing date,” he said.
“Federations all over the world want me to stand for re-election. I am standing as a candidate for re-election.”