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UCI Calls Independent Inquiry

Nov 30, 2012

The Lance Armstrong doping scandal, relevant to all international sports, took a new twist today when the UCI announced an independent inquiry into all matters related to the USADA decision to ban the cyclist for life after a tidal wave of evidence emerged, including testimony from former teammates who provided disturbing detail about the extent and nature of the deception.

A statement from the UCI reads as follows:

An Independent Commission, initiated by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and chaired by The Right Honourable Sir Philip Otton, will hold a hearing in April 2013 in London. The Commission will look into issues and allegations arising out of the Reasoned Decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), of 10 October 2012, in relation to Lance Armstrong and the US Postal

Service Team. Following this hearing the Commission will provide the UCI with its report and recommendations.

On 26 October 2012 cycling’s governing body, the UCI, decided to establish a fully independent external Commission. The Commission members have been appointed, at the request of the UCI, by the President of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS), John Coates. The Commission will be chaired by former Court of Appeal Judge, Sir Philip Otton, assisted by House of Lords Peer, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and Australian lawyer, Malcolm Holmes QC. The Commission will act as an external body, fully independent of the UCI, ICAS and CAS. The purpose and wide-ranging remit of the Commission is set out in the attached Terms of Reference to which the UCI have agreed. Biographies of the three members of the Commission are attached. This documentation is also available at www.uciic.org.

The Commission will hold a hearing in London between 9 - 26 April 2013 and aims to submit its report to the UCI by 1 June 2013 or shortly thereafter.

The UCI will be instructing lawyers to represent them at the hearing.

London law firm Macfarlanes LLP will act as legal advisors to the Commission, and they have instructed Guy Morpuss QC as Leading Counsel to the Commission. They will also be instructing a firm of forensic accountants and medical expert(s) to act as expert advisors to the Commission.

The newly-established Commission will shortly:

(1) Request the UCI to disclose all relevant documents identified in the Terms of Reference, and identify and provide statements from relevant UCI officers and employees or former officers and employees.

(2) Identify such other persons the Commission considers are likely to be able to assist them by giving evidence in relation to the Terms of Reference, and invite them to provide evidence and documents.

In addition, the Commission also invites all other persons in possession of information that may assist the Commission in relation to the Terms of Reference to contact the Commission, with a written summary of their evidence and documents. The Commission can be contacted by emailing Macfarlanes LLP (at evidence@macfarlanes.com) or by writing to Macfarlanes LLP (marked “For the attention of the Independent Commission” at Macfarlanes LLP, 20 Cursitor Street, London, EC4A 1LT). The Commission will decide the extent it wishes to obtain further evidence from such persons. The Commission invites such written submissions by no later than 31 December 2012.

Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI said: “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. As I have said previously, the Commission’s report and recommendations are critical to restoring confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body. We will co-operate fully with the Commission and provide them with whatever they need to conduct their Inquiry and we urge all other interested stakeholders to do the same. We will listen to and act on their recommendations."

End of statement. 

What a shame that the UCI didn't think to go that far a long time ago when respectable cyclists and journalists told them that the federation had a big problem on its hands. Still, better late than never.