If you think SKINS is wrong to sue the UCI, read this.

7 November 2012 Comments 13

Since we announced our legal action against cycling’s governing body on Sunday evening, the world has been a bit of a blur! Our decision to serve a demand on the UCI for damages of $2 million for alleged mismanagement of the sport in the lead up to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal has certainly grabbed attention. I’m very grateful for the huge support we’ve had for our stand from customers, cycling fans and also officials from all areas of the sport, as well as fans of other sports who feel as passionately as we do about the true spirit of competition, and the duties and obligations that governing bodies have.

There has been some negativity and I’m not too proud to admit that some have seen our action as cynical and opportunistic. I’ve had messages criticising us – and me personally – for what they see as a brazen attempt to gain publicity and to make money out of cycling’s current crisis. So I want to make our position absolutely clear.

Any financial gain that SKINS may be awarded from a successful lawsuit against the UCI will be put straight back into clean cycling.

Now, that’s not a promise I’m making retrospectively because I’m shocked and hurt by the reaction of a few accusers. I’ve made our intentions in that regard perfectly clear in media interviews since the announcement, so it’s already ‘on the record’ so to speak. Dissenting voices were to be expected. We all know that any definitive statement of intent will always attract criticism and I’d be mad to think a commercial organisation such as ours would get a 100% approval rating. But, fortunately, I’m not as daft as I look.  Ironically, one satisfying aspect to the negative messages has been the dialogue I’ve subsequently had with the senders. I have replied personally to every email that we received on the topic and when I explained the reasons I’ve outlined here, I can honestly say that the majority of correspondents have said they understood where I was coming from and better understand our actions. I have absolutely no interest in SKINS landing a commercial windfall from this action. As Chairman of a company that has invested in cycling, I simply want the sport to be governed the way it should be and led by credible, honourable people who can be trusted to clean it up. It really is as simple as that.

Overwhelmingly, the reaction has been supportive. Not necessarily for us as a company, but for the general demand for overhaul within the UCI. It just so happens that with no-one else apparently willing to step forward, we’re the ones who’ve led it. From the responses I’ve had, it’s clear that people who’ve followed the Lance Armstrong affair, want to see change at the top of the UCI. Since USADA presented their report, we at SKINS have actively challenged the UCI’s handling of the process, questioned their faltering responses to the evidence and criticised their feeble leadership during what is now obvious was years of systemic cheating across the sport. Some sponsors have announced their withdrawal, others have demanded the return of bonus payments or prize money, but no-one amongst the corporate partners took up the baton to challenge the ability of the UCI to govern. At SKINS, we believe in the True Spirit of Competition and the UCI have presided over a regime that allowed, in fact one could argue, promoted cheats to prosper.

So far, they’ve prevaricated at every step of this saga and frankly, their announcement on their intentions for this much-vaunted independent commission fills me with dread. As I’ve said before, an independent commission must be just that – independent, and I don’t believe it can be under the current regime. But if the President and the Honorary President for Life were to give cycling a chance by accepting responsibility for the things that have happened on their watch and resign, then we’d all settle down and let new leaders with enthusiasm, credibility and vision, get on with it. As a sports company, we firmly believe in a principle of fair play and in this case, the UCI, which governs a sport we’re a part of, should be called to account for its actions – or lack of them – and for failing to uphold the concept.

So to the thousands who’ve applauded our stand, I say a massive ‘thank you’ for your support. We will continue to push for change – either alone or with any other like-minded organisation that wishes to join us. It won’t always make headline news but that’s not the point. Some people have written to tell me that despite being ‘loyal customers’ they’ll never buy another garment. You know what? That’s fine. I see it as a cost worth paying if it fuels the debate and is an agent for change. Even if I can’t persuade the doubters that our intentions are genuine, I can handle it. When athletes buy our product, we like to think they’re buying into our ethos of clean, true spirited competition.

It’s their choice. We’ve made ours.

13 comments on "If you think SKINS is wrong to sue the UCI, read this."

  1. Gary on 12 November 2012

    Mr. Jaimie Fuller:

    I usually do not write emails or respond to posts, however I do read them. I have read your post ” If you think SKINS is wrong to sue the UCI, read this.” and felt compelled to write you to let you know that I feel strongly about the stand you have taken. I AGREE WITH YOU ! I think the actions you have taken are right, well stated and the correct thing to do. Please know there are other folks out there that support what you are doing. BRAVO ! I and I’m sure many others appreciate the efforts you are making to help cycling. Thank you for taking up the fight and pressing forward on this important issue.

  2. Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 12 November 2012

    Hey Gary
    Thanks very much mate for your email. I appreciate you taking the time to write and for your support
    Keep the faith
    Cheers
    Jaimie

  3. Mark on 12 November 2012

    As a long time cycling fan and participant of the sport I wanted to thank and applaud you for taking the both brave and courageous move to start legal action against the people who have run the UCI’s throughout the Armstrong era.

    I really can’t thank you enough for having done this and hope you are able to force change within the UCI and the removal of these people from their positions of power. I am also hopeful that the legal case will be able to shine a light into the dark corners of their dealings and the way they have run the UCI and uncover the true extent of what has been going on.

    I couldn’t agree more with the stance you and your company has towards promoting clean and fair sport. I just wish that other people in positions of power would act in such a way.

    As a fan and participant I personally have no voice as to how the world of cycling is run and when the UCI proclaim they are to engage with the stakeholders of the sport they are missing the largest group the fans. It appears money is the only motivation that really drives the UCI I have personally decided to boycot, as far as is reasonably practical, companies who are involved in cycling but have refused to push for accountability within the UCI.

    Clearly I am happy not to have to include your company on that group.

    I wanted to write to make sure that you are aware of the support you have.

    Good luck with your case.

    • Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 12 November 2012

      Hey Mark
      Thanks. I really appreciate your kind words and support.
      We have a great deal to do but we know that it is for the greater good of cycling. Keep the faith mate. Cheers Jaimie

  4. Kilian on 12 November 2012

    I have just read your statement and it makes me feel great hope for cycling, which I love and have loved for 27 years.

    I have followed this whole doping mess for years and have never written, an email, a tweet or a Facebook like, until now.

    I now hope others will come out of the shadows and stand next to Skins.

    Skins is now the brand I choose to show I support people who try to make a difference not just money.

    • Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 12 November 2012

      Hey Kilian
      More power to you! Thanks very much mate for taking the step and
      writing. Much appreciate it
      Cheers Jaimie

  5. John on 12 November 2012

    I’ve just read your piece about the lawsuit you’ve launched about the UCI and I think it’s great. Everyone’s fed up to the back teeth with them and they’re just going on with business as usual. It looks right now as if they might be trying to fix the “independent” enquiry so that it’s a whitewash, like the Vrijman enquiry. So it’s great that you’re standing up to be counted. Your intention to put any damages you receive straight back into clean cycling is also excellent, and I take it as a sign of your good intentions.

  6. Paul on 12 November 2012

    I think what you are doing has a chance to make change at the UCI happen as all Pat and Hein are thinking about is themselves and their pay cheque’s. They have been there for so long i honestly believe they can’t see what they are doing wrong and have no idea as how to fix it. All i ask is that people like yourselves need to be part of the restructuring process and not just walk away.

  7. Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 12 November 2012

    Hey Paul
    Thanks very much and I appreciate the support.
    Our intention is to act as an agent for change and then pass the baton on to the right parties to determine the details and right outcome. Whilst we will be happy to withdraw and watch how the system will be restructured and overhauled, we will obviously want to have a say in what happens and we will watch with great interest to ensure that we don’t end up with a repeat of the political power games that the current lot are playing.

    Keep the faith mate.

    Cheers
    Jaimie

  8. "GO GET A RESULT "! on 12 November 2012

    Delighted to see that your company has taken the initiative to fight for “Clean Cycling “!

    I am a cyclist that over the years has met so many of the ” important ” personalities of Road Cycle Racing and am as aware of the problems that exist in competition as those Racers .

    Even today , i see that ” UCI ” is trying to ” manipulate ” the results of their ” External Audit ” ! Smacks of the ” Vroomen Report ” , could be that although ” John Coates ” is reported to ” Loathe Cycling ” , he is an ” As it was , man ” , supporting those who currently hold office . John Coates as an Australian , as i am , should be able to call a ” spade a shovel ” but there are so many , that are ” politically motivated ” with an eye to the future , rather than those who are prepared to ” roll up their shirt sleeves and work in the trenches “.

    With more people and Orgs. such as yours , taking action , there is hope that a ” Positive Change ” can be made at the ” UCI ” to the benefit of the Cycle Racers .

    Not used your products since most equipment , clothes and product come from those that support my efforts as an advocate but am aware of many that report their satisfaction .

    An initiatitive tha i feel needs to be followed and encouraged is WADA creating an ” Amnesty in ALL SPORT “! Too many of those entering Sport are influenced by those with a ” Secret ” , something they feel loathe to reveal , with the ” Witch Hunt Atmosphere ” that currently exists ! When you see Matt White & Steve Hodge treated as they were , and know that Neil stephens and Alan Davis were associated with previous scandals , it makes you wonder , what tomorrow’s news will announce ?

    Take the time to visit this ” change.org petition ” ! By signing on YOU WILL help make a difference ! http://t.co/oFWgsHA7

    Looking forward to hearing more of your initiatives ,

    • Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 12 November 2012

      Hey there,

      Thanks mate for your email and taking the time to do so. This is a very serious issue that needs addressing and goes beyond just Messrs McQuaid and Verbruggen and into the heart of the culture within the UCI as well as the structure of doping controlling between the UCI and the anti-doping agencies.

      We will continue to agitate for change and do whatever we can to support the great work done by the likes of USADA and WADA
      Keep the faith mate.
      Cheers,
      Jaimie

  9. klemens on 12 November 2012

    Re: uci clusterfuck

    sure you’re are very busy man (especially now). so i try to keep things short[0].

    i’m an “amateur cyclists” for >2 years now. 27 years of age, always did sport, but cycling kind’a stuck. all my racing (road, cyclocross) of that i do without an UCI license. why…simply because UCI and/or RSV (= austrian cycling association) stink! you don’t need to talk about the anti-doping thing to realize those organisations are highly intransparent. to keep things short: they don’t do a proper job. maybe they did some generations ago. but IMHO they simply never did anything at least half right, despite getting money from companies and/or governments.

    on a different but still same topic there are some plans for next season. we (some cycling friends and me: http://rideunicorn.com) will found a cycling club. second and most importantly we wanna make a difference, and wanna participate in actively making a difference by being present in the current cycling community and also participating in sanctioned racing, but also making our own unsanctioned and open races. biggest plan is to get redhook crit to vienna next year
    (http://redhookcrit.com/). but smaller races will be in too. and we are not the only one doing this. so why don’t you invest/sponsor/support more amateurs and unsanctioned races, and less pro’s. hell with it, by the size of your company (and the money you put into the sport) you can make your own cycling cup, tour or even
    league. there doesn’t need to be only one UCI. we all saw, see and definitely will see what comes when you have only one cycling association. yes your company makes clothes and has no aspiration in creating a new cycling association of any kind. but you could support.
    skins wouldn’t be the only company doing this, but it’s a way less competitive and overpriced possibility advertise your product and create _positive_ awareness for your brand.

    i’m pretty confident that most people related to cycling don’t say what you said, and don’t sue the people you (our your company) sues because there is no alternative to the UCI. you simply don’t bite the hand that feeds you. but with more than one hand there is less sacrifice in biting even the biggest one ;)

    so what do you think? is the uci gone for good and/or recreated by your lawsuit, or should we fight this battle on many grounds? i simply think we need to show those antiquated organisations that we can live without them.

    greetings from vienna/austria

    p.s.: i never was a skins customer. and before reading your bicycling.com – interview i didn’t even knew the company. but i’ll definitely become a “loyal customer”…as long as the chairman stays
    ;)

    • Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 12 November 2012

      Klemens, servus

      Thanks very much for the email. Like you I believe that the UCI is mostly a bunch of people more focused on their own futures and not the wellbeing of the industry.

      I do believe we have a chance to really make a change and we will be pushing as hard as we possibly can Thanks for the suggestion re sponsorship; we are reviewing all options going forward. My preference is to get the great sport of cycling on the right track, with the right people at the helm of the global body Watch this space mate, you never know what could come up next!

      Cheers
      Jaimie