Is the power of the people finally paying off?

22 September 2013 Comments 6

With just under a week to go before the governing body for world cycling elects its new President, I’ve never been more confident now that our own year-long mission to remove Pat McQuaid from the post is about to reach its climax.

For more than a year, we’ve used the values that the SKINS’ brand has developed around protecting the integrity of sport, to challenge the old guard at the UCI and give cycling a fresh chance. Integrity has become a key word in all this because we – and it seems millions of other fans and stakeholders around the world – firmly believe Pat McQuaid is incapable of bringing that attribute to the post. His only rival in the election on the 27th September, Englishman Brian Cookson, seems to have loads of it.

One thing to get straight here is that this hasn’t been just about getting Brian Cookson elected. It’s also been about getting Pat McQuaid ousted.

Ever since we created the pressure group Change Cycling Now, we’ve focused on a new beginning for world cycling with someone at the helm who is more attuned to modern thinking. Frankly, it wouldn’t have been difficult to find a more suitable candidate than Pat.

In the last 12 months, I’ve been proud to have created a group which included such luminaries as Greg LeMond, Jonathan Vaughters, Antoine Vayer, and journalists Paul Kimmage and David Walsh. All of them share the same goals as SKINS and me that cycling has to change – hence the most obvious of names, Change Cycling Now.

Since then, I’ve also been pleased to have regularly continued adding my weight to the growing acceptance that Pat’s time is finally up. We’ve lobbied publicly and behind the scenes and discussed and supported on a regular basis because as a commercial partner for cycling, SKINS has done what other brands haven’t – we put our heads above the parapet and said what we truly believe to be right.

We believed all along that Pat McQuaid was not suitable to lead a sport we’re actively involved in and the rapidly growing support for Brian Cookson in next Friday’s two-horse race shows we are into the final stretch.

In the last months, Pat has used every trick in the book to cling to power. He’s tried to use the Irish and the Swiss federations in an attempt to secure a nomination (and failed) and rallied smaller nations around the world in a manner only he could stoop to attempt. He appallingly even attempted to change the UCI constitution retrospectively to further his own personal agenda. The news that Brian Cookson now has support from the US and Canadian Federations as well as Australia and all 14 voting European nations is not a bad start, needing 22 of 42 potential votes.

Of course, you can never bank on anything until the votes are finally cast and I’m sure Brian won’t be complacent in his approach in the last few days. Anyone needing an illustration of how duplicitous such ‘secret’ ballots can be should remember the plight of England in the last round of FIFA World Cup bidding. After many promises of support, some of which were given directly to HRH Prince William, England gained just 2 out of 26 votes. One of those came from their own man, but the funny thing was the FA then took calls from THREE different voters in the days afterwards, all claiming that they provided the other one!

So nothing can be taken for granted, but the news of a growing level of consistent and significant support for a viable alternative to the current President, is beginning to make me feel the last 12 months of SKINS’ being prepared to stand up for what our company truly believes in, might just have been worthwhile.

6 comments on "Is the power of the people finally paying off?"

  1. Mike on 22 September 2013

    Surely it will not go to a vote?
    The constitution change can be rejected on many fewer votes, so mcquaid will have no nomination.

  2. Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 22 September 2013

    as much as i’d like to think it’ll not go to a vote, pat mcquaid has shown complete disregard for the uci constitution and process. he has no nomination but maintains as he is president of the world body, all federations are his and therefore the thai and moroccan ones suffice. this of course is complete horseshit but what do you do? instruct the police to refuse him access to the congress? the guy is a devious manipulator set on doing anything he possibly can to save his job. we need to ask the question, what does he have to hide that he is prepared to go to so many lengths to prevent someone else stepping into his role and gaining access to all his secrets.

  3. Paul I Marshall on 22 September 2013

    It is with incredulity that I find McQuaid is still trying to hang on to power as UCI President. The best thing he can contribute to the sport of cycling is to graciously step down and accept the fact that he is not the right person to lead the sport of cycling and the UCI through the next 10 – 20 years. He has shown, in particular during the Armstrong years, his reluctance to acknowledge that there was a doping issue at the top of the sport, and put into place immediate steps to deal with this.
    I can only hope and wish that the vote goes in favour of Brian Cookson.

  4. Chris on 22 September 2013

    Cooksen has got the major cycling nationals supporting him. They would have to account for 90% of UCI generated income, but still can’t give a majority of votes. Thailand’s vote has the same weight as USA? What a joke! McQuaid might not have the superpowers support, but I bet he has promised the world to the minions. Lets hope the result is a fair representation of the ‘cycling world’.

  5. Lincoln Chrysiliou on 22 September 2013

    Good luck with the result Jaimie! Hopefully you will get the change you are after in a few days time.

  6. Alan Westwood on 23 September 2013

    I so hope you’re right in your confidence. I have no trust in the current UCI and the proper conduct of the secret ballot, nor of the integrity of some of the delegates. It should be an open vote, so we can see how OUR federations have voted. The despicable McQuaid may have some dirty tricks left yet. If he wins, I just hope for a breakaway organisation – Cycling wouldn’t be the first sport to resort to that.