June 26 - An independent anti-doping unit would not be against the rules if it is set up by the International Cycling Union (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have confirmed, undermining Pat McQuaid's key criticism of Brian Cookson's manifesto.
McQuaid had claimed that UCI would not be able to pass responsbility for its drugs testing programme to another organisation, as Cookson proposes in his manifesto which he launched in Paris on Monday (June 24), because it would be against WADA rules.
WADA have now told insidethegames that McQuaid is wrong.
"Please be informed that under the World Anti-Doping Code there are no rules that prevent an international federation to outsource their testing and results management programme to an independent body," a spokeswoman said.
"For instance, SportAccord conducts testing and results management for some international federations."
McQuaid, the controversial Irishman seeking a third term as President of the UCI, had claimed yesterday that his challenger's plans were "half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical".
It was the second occasion that McQuaid had launched a bitter attack on Cookson, the President of British Cycling, since he announced earlier this month that he would stand against him.
A letter circulated to the UCI's member associations by McQuaid shortly after Cookson said he would put himself forward earlier this month led to calls from Igor Makarov, President of the Russian Cycling Federation, for him to be sanctioned by the UCI Ethics Committee.
"The response from Pat McQuaid to my manifesto has once again demonstrated exactly why restoring credibility to the UCI and cycling in general was the number one recommendation of the recent Deloitte consultation with the sport's stakeholders," said Cookson.
"His bullying and haranguing style seems designed to antagonise everyone who does not share his approach to the governance of world cycling.
"Members of the cycling family and other interested observers can read my manifesto, compare it with the current state and image of the UCI, and make their own minds up as to who they believe best represents the future of the UCI and cycling.
"I will not respond in kind but I will say that the UCI desperately needs transparency and that includes the costs of the President's office and the damaging litigation that has become commonplace during Mr McQuaid's Presidency.
"On Monday I set out a new agenda for the UCI and cycling which has already received very strong support from around the world.
"I have been truly encouraged by the messages I have received following the launch and the serious and considered way which members of the cycling family and the media have responded to the direction I want to set.
"As we enter the next stage of the Presidential election, it is clear that the choice that has to be made is between two different approaches to the work of the UCI and two different visions for our sport.
"I believe in a path based on credibility, trust and change and not one littered with a seemingly endless round of doubts and discrepancies where relations with important stakeholders are conducted by press release and punctuated by legal letters.
"I continue to hope the Presidential contest can be one in which cycling can take pride."
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June 2013: McQuaid's verdict on Cookson's manifesto: "Half baked, fundamentally flawed and financially impractical"
June 2013: Cookson promises "financial transparency" as he launches campaign manifesto
June 2013: McQuaid claims Swiss nomination for UCI President is "secure"
June 2013: Armstrong quizzes Cookson on Twitter over plans for "truth and reconciliation" process
June 2013: Cookson "disturbed" by allegations against McQuaid in secret dossier