By Duncan Mackay

Igor Makarov head and shoulders 2August 1 - Russian oligarch Igor Makarov has threatened to take legal action against the International Cycling Union (UCI) if Article 51 of the organisation's Constitution is altered and backdated before the election of the new President.

The Malaysian Cycling Federation have proposed an amendment which is due to be voted on at the UCI Congress in Florence on September 27 and backdated, if successful, to enable any two federations to nominate a candidate for the Presidential election.

The change is widely seen as an attempt by Pat McQuaid, who has led the UCI since 2005, to ensure that he is able to stand in the election against Brian Cookson, the President of British Cycling, who is challenging him.

McQuaid's endorsement by the Irish federation Cycling Ireland was revoked after its members voted and declared their opposition, while his nomination by Swiss Cycling is under legal appeal.

Morocco and Thailand have also nominated McQuaid, which he claims is allowed under Article 51, although he has been heavily criticised for his interpretation of the rule.

Makarov, President of the Russian Cycling Federation, is a member of the UCI Management Committee and has publicly backed Cookson to replace McQuaid. 

Igor Makarov with Pat McQuaidRussian businessman Igor Makarov with Pat McQuaid, UCI President who he now wants to be replaced by Britain's Brian Cookson

He has now written to UCI general director Christophe Hubschmid to warn him that he will oppose the proposed rule change in the courts if necessary.

"I take the opportunity of this letter to inform you that should this unlawful process be maintained, I already intend to challenge, by all legal means, any decision taken by the UCI Congress in this respect and any other infringements to the UCI constitution," Makarov wrote.

"I am astonished that the Management Committee members, despite being vested with the most extensive powers as regards the management of the UCI as per the constitution and regulations, have not been informed nor consulted regarding such modification of the electoral process.

"I will always be opposed to any modification that aims to circumvent the democratic principles and to favour one or several individuals to the detriment of the whole cycling community

"The only person who will take advantage of an 'anticipated' modification of Article 51 of the UCI Constitution is undoubtedly, exclusively, the candidate Pat McQuaid."

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