Kimmage supporters pledge more than $20,000 to help fight McQuaid and Verbruggen legal case
Monday, 24 September 2012
September 24 - A special fighting fund set-up to help former Sunday Times journalist Paul Kimmage contest a legal action brought against him by International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, has reached more than $20,000 (£12,000/€15,000) only four days after being launched.
Kimmage, a former Irish professional cyclist, received a subpoena last week from countryman McQuaid and Dutchman Verbruggen over allegations he had made in a series of newspaper articles about seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, given a lifetime ban last month by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after he refused to defend himself against allegations he had used banned performance-enhancing drugs.
The UCI officials had initiated the the action in January and are each seeking damages of €6,600 (£5,532/$8,668) claiming to the Swiss District Court that they feel "their reputation has been seriously damaged" by Kimmage, mainly in articles published in The Sunday Times and French newspaper L'Équipe.
But now website NY Velocity has launched a fund to help Kimmage, who was made redundant by The Sunday Times earlier this year, meet his anticipated legal costs and nearly 600 supporters have so far pledged a financial contribution.
"The UCI are taking Paul Kimmage to court for writing that they covered up a positive for Lance Armstrong," NY Velocity wrote on the site.
"The same accusation is leveled by [Tyler] Hamilton and [Daniel] Coyle in The Secret Race, and will likely be further corroborated when USADA present their case against Armstrong.
"As [journalist and author] David Walsh has pointed out, the UCI are vindictively suing only Kimmage and not the publications in which those accusations appeared (that includes us!). Some friends have set up a Chipin for Kimmage's defense fund below."
The case against Kimmage is due to be heard at the Tribunal D'Arrondissement de L'Est Vaudois in Vevey, close to where both McQuaid and Verbruggen, on December 12.
As well as the damages they are both seeking, they are also demanding that Kimmage does not repeat the statements made before about UCI and that he pays for advertisements in international media publicising the final judgement of the court.
Kimmage, whose 1990 book Rough Ride first brought the problem of doping in cycling to the attention of the public, has thanked his supporters on Twitter, writing that he is "truly humbled".
A petition, meanwhile, has been set-up on another website, road.cc, calling for McQuaid's resignation as President of the UCI.
The petition reads: "Cycling racing continues to be in a mess because of ongoing doping issues, poor accountability and allegations of interference by its top organizing body, the UCI. Its leadership has failed to adequately address these issues for decades."
The Irshman, who was confronted by Britain's reformer doper David Millar about the issue of drugs during the World Road Cycling Championships in Limburg, succeeded Verbruggen as President in 2005 and is next due to stand for election next year.
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September 2012: UCI's McQuaid and Verbruggen push ahead with legal action against journalist despite Armstrong life ban
January 2012: UCI's McQuaid and Verbruggen seek damages from journalist Kimmage