27 March 2008

UCI Lawsuit Causes Termination of WADA Pilot Project in Cycling “Athlete’s Passport”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced today that, as a result of the UCI’s lawsuit against WADA (see below for WADA’s March 25, statement regarding the UCI lawsuit) and its obvious and inherent legal and practical implications, WADA has withdrawn its support of the UCI in relation to WADA’s pilot project of the “Athlete’s Passport.” WADA maintains its commitment to the Athlete’s Passport concept and its potential benefit to augmenting strategies to combat doping and WADA will continue the pilot project with another sport.

“WADA agreed to pilot its Athlete’s Passport project with the UCI, rather than any other sport, in an attempt to help restore cycling to a cleaner and more credible state,” said WADA President John Fahey. “This came following a cycling season and Tour de France in 2007 in which cycling was yet again wracked with doping scandals. Since October 2007, WADA has supported the UCI, in financial and human resources, with this pilot project. But in light of the UCI’s attack on WADA, we now find a partnership with the UCI untenable and will therefore initiate dialogue with other sports in order to advance the Athlete’s Passport project.”

Click here for more information about the Athlete’s Passport concept and its potential to enhance anti-doping strategies.


Title: WADA Responds to UCI Press Release

Date: March 25, 2008

On March 20, 2008, the UCI announced in a press release that it and its former president, Hein Verbruggen, had “sued” the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Richard W. Pound, for “what they perceive as being continual injurious and biased comments by Mr. Pound against UCI and Mr. Verbruggen in the context of the efforts made by them to eradicate doping” from the sport of cycling.

This action by UCI in suing WADA’s former president is in fact an action against WADA. WADA will be taking all steps necessary to ensure that the court is fully informed of issues and facts relating to doping in cycling. WADA will instruct legal counsel to represent WADA and its former president in this regard, and to robustly defend and reject the unfounded allegations made by the UCI.

It is especially disappointing that the UCI takes these steps and commits its finances to legal action against WADA, rather than assisting in the funding of the Landis appeal. UCI specifically declined to contribute to the Landis case on the grounds that it had “no budget” to do so. Yet the appeal was specifically conducted under UCI rules, involved a breach of the sport’s anti-doping policy, and is a major case for the sport. (NB: USADA conducted the hearings under delegated authority from USA Cycling, the UCI’s national member in the U.S.)