The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused cycling’s world governing body of “deceit” on Tuesday following its decision to disband its own independent commission into the Lance Armstrong drugs scandal. WADA’s damning criticism of the International Cycling Union (UCI) came as the independent commission itself issued a statement Tuesday saying a lack of cooperation by the UCI and other interested parties had made its work “impossible”.
Monday saw UCI president Pat McQuaid announce the closure of the independent commission after protracted argument about its powers and whether witnesses would be granted an amnesty protecting them from subsequent disciplinary action. The commission had been created in response to allegations by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, whose inquiry led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, that cycling officials had been complicit in the American’s cheating.
Irishman McQuaid, UCI president since 2005, said Monday the commission was being scrapped in favor of a “truth and reconciliation process” (TRC), which had the support of WADA. However, WADA president John Fahey denied this Tuesday, accusing the UCI of ignoring its responsibilities and being “determined to apparently deflect responsibility for the doping problem in its sport to others”. Fahey added. “UCI has publicly announced that WADA has agreed to work with it on some form of truth and reconciliation. This is not only wrong in content and process, but again deceitful. “WADA has not and will not consider partaking in any venture with UCI while this unilateral and arrogant attitude continues.”
Meanwhile a commission statement on Tuesday put pressure on McQuaid by saying: “Pat McQuaid stated that the UCI ‘will cooperate fully with the commission’… and urged all other interested stakeholders to do the same. “Neither the UCI nor interested stakeholders have provided sufficient
co-operation to enable the commission to do its job.
“This failure to cooperate makes our task impossible.”
McQuaid said Monday that WADA’s refusal to take part had left the UCI with no choice but to scrap the commission.
“We have decided that a truth and reconciliation process is the best way to examine the culture of doping in cycling in the past and to clear the air so that cycling can move forward,” he explained. “We have therefore decided to disband the independent commission with immediate effect,” McQuaid added.
But Change Cycling Now (CCN), a pressure group set up in November, responded Tuesday by calling for McQuaid and his senior colleagues to be sacked, saying that in closing the commission the UCI were guilty of a “rank and disgraceful manipulation of power” and “concerned only with self-preservation”.