With another desperate bid to bend the rules in his favour for the upcoming UCI Presidential Election, Pat McQuaid is back in the news. The Malaysian Federation have put forward a proposal that would allow any two national federations to nominate a candidate for the UCI Presidency.
This move comes after McQuaid was humiliated by his own country, as Cycling Ireland voted against giving our Dear Leader their backing in June. His nomination has been backed by the Swiss Federation, but with this being legally contested by Skins clothing company and a member of the Swiss Federation, there is uncertainty about whether Pat will end up with the Swiss nomination.
This new attempt to change the rules midway through the contest seems engineered to suit McQuaid, and ensure that he has enough backing to actually stand for the Presidency. Towards the end of the UCI’s press release comes the rather revelatory news that the Thai and Moroccan Federations have nominated McQuaid, noting that the incumbent President is suspiciously already a member of these obscure Federations.
If this rule change gets approved then it would be backdated, meaning that it would apply to the current election, and that McQuaid would be able to take advantage of it. The closing date for nominations, which was June 29th, would instead be extended to the end of August in order to accommodate Pat.
One important thing to consider is that this amendment will need to be voted on, and needs a 2/3 majority from the UCI Congress to pass. The Congress has 42 members, meaning Pat needs 28 votes. On the other hand, that means only 15 votes are needed to kill this plan. With the European Confederation (14 voting delegates) supporting Brian Cookson, and Oceania (3 votes) led by reform candidate Tracey Gaudry, it looks as though this amendment could well fail.
McQuaid’s bid for a third term has lurched from one embarrassing farce to another, and it would be a truly miserable result for cycling if he somehow managed to force his way back for a third term. This latest move from the Irishman only makes him look more desperate to cling onto power. The proposal reflects badly on the UCI, who are hardly the most trustworthy organisation to begin with.
Looking ahead to the September vote, it looks as though all eyes will be on the Americas. With Asia (9 votes) and Africa (7 votes) seemingly behind McQuaid, and Europe (14 votes) and Oceania (3 votes) likely to back Cookson, the 9 votes that the Confederacion Panamericana de Ciclismo have look as though they will decide our next President for the next four years. 22 votes is the goal.
McQuaid’s only opponent, British Cycling President Brian Cookson, has labelled the move “an embarrassment to cycling and a naked attempt to change the rules midway through the election.”
Skins chairman Jaimie Fuller likened McQuaid’s latest political manouevering to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and added more sensibly that “The fact that he has now become a member of the Thai and Moroccan Federations and has proposed changes to the constitution to enable them to nominate him for President should Swiss Cycling lose their action, shows the lengths that Mr McQuaid will go to in order to maintain his well-abused position.”
Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of bike company Cervélo also likened McQuaid’s actions to that of a dictator, “Neither Lukashenko nor Mugabe change election rules as easily as the McQuaid camp. Must be easy to live with out any concept of shame. That said, there is no way this latest stunt will hold up in court.”
Garmin-Sharp team boss Jonathan Vaughters asked a simple question, “At a time in cycling when we are trying to stop rules being bent to win, why would we endorse leadership that bends the rules to win?”
Finally, a quote from Mike Plant, former President of USA Cycling and the current US representative on the UCI Management Committee – “For the life of me, I cannot see how making this significant change to the nomination process, on the morning of the election, will do anything less than further destroy the current reputation and credibility of how this organization is currently being governed and managed.”