August 20 - Any legal doubts over whether Pat McQuaid will be able to stand for a third term as President of the International Cycling Union (UCI) have been ended after lawyers ruled that his nomination is constitutionally within the rules, it was claimed by the Irishman here today.
McQuaid had his original nomination by Cycling Ireland revoked in April and is due to appear before an arbitration panel in Geneva on Thursday (August 22) after the decision by the Swiss Cycling Federation to back him was challenged.
It could mean that McQuaid has to rely on nominations from Morocco and Thailand.
British Cycling, whose President Brian Cookson is McQuaid's only rival for the election in Florence on September 27, had written to the UCI claiming that they had nominated him too late and also that it was not allowed under the constitution of the world governing body.
But McQuaid announced here today that global law firm Baker & McKenzie had investigated the matter and found no irregularities.
"We have had legal opinion on that letter that came from British Cycling and that's gone out to [the UCI] Management Committee today," McQuaid said.
"It clears the UCI completely from any wrong doing."
McQuaid also claimed that the verdict exonerated key professional staff, including Christophe Hubschmid, general director of the UCI, after they helped the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) and Malaysian National Cycling Federation draft a controversial change to Rule 51 of the body's constitution.
"It [the letter] clears the UCI administration from any wrongdoings or any favouritism or acting improperly," said McQuaid.
"And that includes going back to the Malaysians and asking them for a clarification and suggesting the transitional clause.
"This is from one of the biggest law firms in the world."
Cookson, a member of the UCI's Management Committee, told insidethegames that they would accept the decision.
"It's unlikely that British Cycling will take it any further," he said.
"We have made our point and people around the world can make up their own minds.
"I'm very happy for their to be an election under the current rules.
"I just want to make sure that I'm riding a pursuit and that it doesn't turn into a points race before the finish."
But McQuaid admitted that he feared the influence of Igor Makarov, the oligarch who is head of the Russian Cycling Federation and member of the UCI Management Committee, who is backing Cookson.
Makarov is the owner of the Itera company that sponsors the Katusha team, which last year was controversially denied a WorldTour licence only to overturn the verdict through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
It is now ranked second in the world behind Team Sky, the squad which has provided the last two winners of the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Chris Froome this year.
"He [Makarov] has unfortunately taken the view, wrongly, that I had an influence in the decision of the Licence Commission last year," said McQuaid.
"He has taken the view that he would prefer it then that I was not the President as a result of that.
"He's done several things that I don't want to go into individually.
"He's certainly not working for me."
To read a full copy of the judgement from Baker & McKenzie click here.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
August 2013: Exclusive - New doubts over transparency of UCI election after correspondence shows staff intervened in drafting rule change
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July 2013: I have not broken any rules claims defiant McQuaid as criticism grows
July 2013: Proposal to change rules to help McQuaid UCI election campaign condemned as "dishonest"
June 2013: McQuaid claims Swiss nomination for UCI President is "secure"