Friday, January 17, 2014

Members of the UCI Investigation into Doping

The International Cycling Union (UCI) recently announced the three-person membership of its Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). The following is from a press release issued by UCI on January 8, quoting recently elected UCI president Brian Cookson:
"I am also delighted to announce that we now have the three-member Independent Commission which I promised in my Manifesto. This Commission will investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years, especially the allegations that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past –

allegations which have done so much to hurt the credibility of the UCI and our sport. Their work will also be focused on understanding what went so wrong in our sport and they will make recommendations for change so that as far as possible those mistakes are not repeated. In recognition of the scope of their task, and to emphasise that, as a sport, we need to gain a positive outcome from its work, it will be named the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). Three individuals at the top of their respective professions have agreed to do this work, headed by Dick Marty as chairman.

Mr Marty is a high profile Swiss politician and former State Prosecutor, in which post he was specially noted for his energetic activities fighting organised crime and drug abuse. For more than a decade, he has been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In the course of this work, he has conducted various inquiries that have earned him international recognition.

He will be supported by two vice-chairmen, Mr. Ulrich Haas and Mr Peter Nicholson.

Mr Haas, of Germany, is a specialist in anti-doping rules and procedures. He is Professor of Civil Procedure and Civil Law at the University of Zurich and a highly respected arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Mr Nicholson is an Australian, a former military officer and specialises in criminal investigations in both national and international jurisdictions. He has worked for various governments and the United Nations where he led several war crimes investigations."
The chair, Dick Marty, is a member of the Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe. It is of note that in 2004 he came out in support of the criminalization of doping offenses in sport. Marty's website notes (translation courtesy Google Translate):
Fellow [parliamentarian] Büttiker has filed a motion postulating the introduction of criminal laws against athletes who use doping. With a brief speech, I supported the motion, then accepted, despite the opposition of the Federal Council.
Ulrich Haas is a second member. Haas is a professor at the University of Zurich, and he has also served as an arbiter for the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.  Haas was nominated by Alberto Contador to serve as an arbiter in his doping hearing before CAS in 2011, a decision that was met with considerable surprise, given that Haas had earlier ruled against cyclist Alejandro Valverde in an earlier CAS arbitration. CAS, including Haas, ruled against Contador (here in PDF).

The third member of the commission is Peter Nicholson, an Australian, about whom there appears to be very little information. Cycling News reports:
The [third] member is Peter Nicholson, an Australian former military officer. Nicholson served as the chief investigator for the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission, investigating war crimes. He was involved in the inquiry into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Interesting, Nicholson shows up in the Wikileaks cables, on matters related to the Hariri assassination. There is not evidence to suggest that Nicholson has any connections to the cycling world, or even sports.

The work of the CINC is supposed to be completed this year, it will be interesting to follow.


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