International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has been replaced as the Association of Summer International Olympic Associations (ASOIF) representative on both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee and Foundation Board.
The Irishman, whose position as head of cycling has been under scrutiny because of the drugs scandal involving Lance Armstrong, had completed his term on the WADA Executive Committee and ASOIF nominated Turkey’s Uğur Erdener, President of World Archery, to replace him. But, Erdener has also taken his position on the WADA Foundation Board even though McQuaid still had another year until his term on it expired.
ASOIF director Andrew Ryan claimed that the change has been made purely for logistical reasons and that it has nothing to do with the on-going row between WADA and the UCI that came about following the emergence of the Armstrong doping saga last summer.
“The reason for the change is very simple,” Ryan told insidethegames. “For the purpose of continuity, ASOIF like our representative on the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board to be the same person. Pat McQuaid’s term on the Executive Committee has expired and we nominated Uğur Erdener as his replacement.”
The 38-member Foundation Board is WADA’s supreme decision-making body and is composed equally of representatives from the Olympic Movement and Governments. It is chaired by John Fahey, the former Premier of New South Wales, who is now the President of WADA. Other members include FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Britain’s Sir Craig Reedie, Claudia Bokel, head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission and Australia’s Minister of Sport Kate Lundy.
“Given that the Executive Committee and Foundation Board meet in Montreal around three or four times per year the day after each other, it makes no sense to have two different representatives, so Pat McQuaid stepped down from the Foundation Board to allow Uğur Erdener to take over that position too,” said Ryan. “It simply makes logistical sense and there is an argument that it also helps cut down on travel costs and so forth with one person traveling rather than two. It is a small logistical problem for us given that we want ASOIF represented by the same person on the Executive Committee and Foundation Board and it is something we will speak to WADA about to see if we can rectify it long-term.”
Ryan’s comments appear to clear up any confusion on the issue after UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani had claimed that “the UCI doesn’t know exactly what has happened” in the immediate aftermath of the change.
The issue drew particular attention given the strained relationship between McQuaid and WADA since Lance Armstrong was banned for life last August by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for taking banned performance-enhancing drugs and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
McQuaid has since been accused by senior figures at WADA of turning a blind eye to doping in his sport.
The issue has led to growing calls for McQuaid to step down as head of the sport, and an Independent Commission set up by the UCI to look into the doping scandal could ultimately decide his fate when they publish their findings later this year.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is a blog of the London Organizing Committee that oversaw the recent Summer Olympics. Its writers continue to report on issues affecting the Olympic movement. This article is reprinted here with permission from the editors.