Independent committee launched to investigate UCI’s involvement in Lance Armstrong scandal

The UCI lauded the creation of the committee and stressed that they had no influence on the selection of its members.

The independent commission is charged with determining if “Whether, between 1998 and 2012, the UCI realised that Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team were collaborating to avoid detection in the use, possession, administration and trafficking of performance enhancing drugs and methods, and: (i) if the UCI did realise, whether it failed to respond appropriately; and (ii) if the UCI did not realise, whether it ought to have done so, and what steps (if any) it should have taken to inform itself of the actions of Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team in order to act appropriately.” (among other things).

John Coates, president of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport was responsible for staffing the commission and decided to appoint Former Court of Appeal judge Sir Philip Otton as the chair along with UK House of Lords Peer and Paralympic Champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and Australian lawyer, Malcolm Holmes QC.

UCI president Patrick McQuaid praised the formation of the group saying: “I am grateful to John Coates, President of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport, for assembling such a high calibre and truly Independent Commission. The wide-ranging terms of reference demonstrate the Commission’s determination to review fully the issues contained in the USADA report and I welcome that.”

McQuaid added: “The appointment of these three eminent figures demonstrates clearly that the UCI wants to get to the bottom of the Lance Armstrong affair and put cycling back on the right track. Rather than simply attacking the UCI, our critics now have an opportunity to be part of the solution. I would ask them, therefore, to make their representation to the Independent Commission – and to start to put cycling first.”

This writer finds it difficult for McQuaid on one hand to claim complete independence from selecting the commission’s members and on the other to say that their appointment demonstrates their willingness to ‘get to the bottom’ of the Armstrong affair. It’s one thing to agree with the appointments, but is a far stretch to say that it shows an intent to move forward. If the UCI wants to survive, they really had no choice about participating in the investigation.

Despite all the talk about the UCI’s anti-doping procedures, this isn’t really about whether the UCI was a stringent tester and enforcer of doping. It’s about whether they chose to promote cycling as clean and continue to rake in huge profits over sanctioning the riders and teams that were their gravy train. McQuaid and the UCI have more opportunities to lose big than to come out on top in this affair. If they didn’t take part, it would have been another example of their close-mindedness. If the commission finds that they took money to cover up a positive, or swept overwhelming evidence to doping under the table, they lose. If they’re even found to have not been completely honest, they lose.

The Commission will act as an external body and claims full independence from the UCI, ICAS and CAS.

They will hold a hearing in London between 9-26 April 2013 and aims to give its report to the UCI by 1 June 2013, or shortly after. The purpose and wide-ranging remit of the Commission is set out in the below Terms of Reference, which was drawn up by the Commission members.

IN consequence of the Reasoned Decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), dated 10 October 2012, in its proceedings against Lance Armstrong as part of the US Postal Service (USPS) Pro Cycling Team Investigation.

AND in light of the decision of the Union Cycliste Internationale  (UCI), of 22 October 2012, to recognise the sanction imposed  by USADA upon Lance Armstrong and not to appeal the Reasoned Decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and therefore proceeding upon the assumptions that as set out in the Reasoned Decision:-

(1) Lance Armstrong, whilst a professional cyclist, together with the USPS Team, engaged in the use, administration and trafficking of performance enhancing drugs and methods; and
(2) as admitted by them, teammates of Lance Armstrong in the USPS Team engaged in the use of performance enhancing drugs and methods.

AND without making any assumptions regarding the allegations against the UCI set out in the Reasoned Decision.

The terms of reference of the Independent Commission are as follows:-

A. To DETERMINE:-

1. Whether the allegations against the UCI set out in the Reasoned Decision are well founded.

2. Whether, between 1998 and 2012, the UCI realised that Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team were collaborating to avoid detection in the use, possession, administration and trafficking of performance enhancing drugs and methods, and:

(i) if the UCI did realise, whether it failed to respond appropriately; and

(ii) if the UCI did not realise, whether it ought to have done so, and what steps (if any) it should have taken to inform itself of the actions of Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team in order to act appropriately.

3. Whether, and if so, to what extent the UCI’s anti-doping policies and procedures between (i) 1998 and 2005 and (ii) 2005 and 2012, were inadequate or were not enforced with sufficient rigour; and if so, whether the UCI was at the time aware, or ought to have been aware, of such
inadequacy or lack of enforcement.

4. Whether there was, between 1998 and 2012, any reliable evidence or information in the possession of or known to the UCI regarding allegations or suspicions of doping by Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team; and if so, whether there was any failure by the UCI to act appropriately in
regard to such information.

5. Whether, when Lance Armstrong returned to racing in 2009, there was a failure by the UCI to detect signs of doping by him, and whether it was appropriate for him to return to and continue racing.

6. Whether payments were made by Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team to the UCI, between 1998 and 2012, and if so whether it was appropriate for the UCI to have accepted such payments, or to have accepted them on the basis (explicit or implicit) upon which they were made.

7. Whether the UCI inappropriately discouraged those persons with knowledge of doping by Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team from coming forward with such knowledge, and whether the UCI should have done more to encourage such persons to come forward sooner.

8. Whether the UCI adequately co-operated with, assisted in and reacted to the USADA USPS Team Investigation.
9. Whether any persons previously convicted of doping, or voluntarily admitting to doping, or supporting riders in doping, should be able to work within the world of cycling in the future; and, if not, how such a prohibition could and should be enforced.

10. Whether the UCI had a conflict of interest between its roles in promoting the sport of cycling and in investigating or making adverse findings against Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team.

11. Whether the current doping controls of the UCI are adequate and compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and whether those controls can be improved.

B. To EXAMINE all relevant documents in the control or possession of the UCI or its senior management or employees (or previous employees), including without limitation Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen, Christian Varin, Anne Gripper, Francesca Rossi and Mario Zorzoli, in regard
to doping, or suspected doping, by Lance Armstrong and the USPS Team, such documents to include, without
limitation:-

1. all external letters, emails, faxes, notes of telephone conversations, spreadsheets, presentations, instant messages, or other external documents whether physical or electronic; and
2. all internal records (including financial records, scientific data and laboratory test results), emails, faxes, diary entries, notes of telephone conversations, records of internal meetings, memoranda, bank and computer records, spreadsheets, presentations, instant messages, or other internal documents whether physical or electronic, and to draw conclusions from such documents.

C. AND to make RECOMMENDATIONS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *