As the new year begins and a little over three months after his election as president, Brian Cookson has reflected on the changes that have already been put in place at the UCI and looks forward to 2014 with enthusiasm as a year in which he and his team will work hard to rebuild trust in cycling and grow the sport globally.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “It has been a very busy three months since my election at the UCI Congress in late September. I made a number of important pledges in my Manifesto and I am absolutely determined that these promises are not only met but become realities as soon as possible.
“I am extremely fortunate to have a top class, motivated and dedicated team and we’ve made good progress on a number of fronts. The UCI Management Committee has also been totally united and at our special meeting held in October made a number of key decisions on important issues concerning the governance and transparency of the UCI, women’s cycling and international development.
“Good progress has also been made on our work to reform men’s elite road racing. There is plenty more to be done but I’m really encouraged by the positive atmosphere at the meetings we are having with all of cycling’s stakeholders and the general willingness to co-operate to build a better and more sustainable future for all involved.
“I am very pleased that our new Women’s Commission has met for the first time to start planning its work and that all UCI Commissions now have a female member. Work is well under way to transform the broadcast coverage of women’s elite cycling’s premier series, the UCI Women’s Road World Cup and I am really committed to unlocking the fantastic potential of women’s cycling.
“I am also delighted to announce that we now have the three-member Independent Commission which I promised in my Manifesto. This Commission will investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years, especially the allegations that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past – allegations which have done so much to hurt the credibility of the UCI and our sport. Their work will also be focused on understanding what went so wrong in our sport and they will make recommendations for change so that as far as possible those mistakes are not repeated. In recognition of the scope of their task, and to emphasise that, as a sport, we need to gain a positive outcome from its work, it will be named the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). Three individuals at the top of their respective professions have agreed to do this work, headed by Dick Marty as chairman.
Mr Marty is a high profile Swiss politician and former State Prosecutor, in which post he was specially noted for his energetic activities fighting organised crime and drug abuse. For more than a decade, he has been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In the course of this work, he has conducted various inquiries that have earned him international recognition.
He will be supported by two vice-chairmen, Mr. Ulrich Haas and Mr Peter Nicholson.
Mr Haas, of Germany, is a specialist in anti-doping rules and procedures. He is Professor of Civil Procedure and Civil Law at the University of Zurich and a highly respected arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Mr Nicholson is an Australian, a former military officer and specialises in criminal investigations in both national and international jurisdictions. He has worked for various governments and the United Nations where he led several war crimes investigations.
The Commission members will be assisted by Ms. Aurélie Merle, the project Director who has a background in sports with the IOC and LOCOG and also investigation and justice work for the UN, who will coordinate the work of the CIRC.
Brian Cookson added: ‘’The Independent Commission has already started preparatory work and will soon be given complete access to the files of the UCI and all the electronic data which was copied as soon as I was elected. It will also be seeking testimony from people involved in the sport or who have been involved in the past and we are in the final stages of discussions with WADA to agree how best to incentivise people to co-operate with the Independent Commission.
‘’We have agreed a budget for the Commission, which the UCI will cover in full, and we have also expressed our wish that its work be concluded this year. Other than that, the Independent Commission based in Lausanne will operate completely independently of the UCI and will organise its work as it chooses. The Commission’s terms of reference will explicitly state that the Commission will act autonomously and that its members will not receive any instruction from the UCI.
“Other work well underway includes the audit of the UCI’s current anti-doping activities by iNADO who are using top staff from the anti-doping organisations of Finland and Norway for this work which will conclude at the end of the month. This is completely distinct from the work of the Independent Commission and is focussed on assuring that our current operations are as good as they can be.
“In other ways the progress will be more subtle as we change the way the UCI works to make it a more transparent and modern organisation, one which people trust. My vision is simple, I want us to be the best international federation in the world, a federation that merits its beautiful and enduring sport, and I want our sport to be one in which everyone – fans, participants, media, sponsors, governments – can have the utmost trust and confidence” .
Further announcements on the CIRC will be made when appropriate.