By Gary Anderson

The UCI has announced plans to set up an independent anti-doping tribunal next year ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced plans to establish an independent anti-doping tribunal by 2015 following a meeting of its Management Committee during the Road Cycling World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

The new independent body will deal with all doping cases involving international competitions in a move the UCI hopes will lead to a consistency of decision-making and end the debate over the reliability of individual federations' findings.

Currently, doping cases are handled by National Federations.

The tribunal would likely recommend a ban length if the cyclist was found guilty and the UCI would put it in place, without the National Federation having a say.

The athlete would then have the option to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if he or she disagreed with the ruling.

In a statement the UCI said: "In order to further improve UCI's anti-doping processes, the 14 member Management Committee proposed the establishment of an anti-doping tribunal to deal with cases involving international athletes, instead of these disciplinary proceedings being delegated to National Federations.

"The tribunal would be made up of judges specialised in anti-doping, fully independent of the UCI, with the aim to provide all top level athletes with the same consistent process and a clear, short timetable.

"This should ensure consistency and uniform quality in the decisions, significantly reduce the number of cases that go to CAS on appeal and lift the operational burden from the National Federations.

"After consultation with National Federations, the tribunal should be ready to start operating in 2015."

The new tribunal will handle all cases of doping in cycling, taking the decision-making process away from National Federations ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe new tribunal will handle all cases of doping in cycling, taking the decision-making process away from National Federations ©AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this week, Roman Kreuziger was cleared of anti-doping violations by the Czech Olympic Committee despite provisionally being suspended by the UCI after registering anomalies in his blood passport earlier this season.

Kreuziger was pulled from this year's Tour de France by his Tinkoff-Saxo team as an ongoing investigation continued into irregularities in his biological passport dating back to 2011 and 2012 when he raced for Astana.

The CAS rejected Kreuziger's appeal against his provisional suspension, but following the COC's decision, the UCI is widely expected to bring the case before the CAS again.

The setting up of a new independent body to handle doping cases has been part of the reforms being put in place by Brian Cookson, who replaced Pat McQuaid as UCI President last September.

The governing body has been the subject of fierce criticism and scrutiny in recent years, particularly over its involvement in the Lance Armstrong scandal which eventually saw the American stripped of his seven Tour de France victories.

Speaking to insidethegames last week, Cookson claimed that cycling is now the leading sport in terms of tackling doping.

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