Sat, Jun 14, 2008 - Page 19 News List

French cycling body suspended by UCI for lacking 'loyalty'


World cycling chiefs on Thursday announced the suspension of the French cycling federation (FFC) for the remainder of this year for lacking "loyalty."

The decision follows months of tit-for-tat feuding between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and major race organizers such as the Tour de France, which has been supported by the FFC in recent months.

The FFC became embroiled in an ongoing dispute between the UCI and ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) — the company which runs the Tour de France — in March this year prior to another ASO race, Paris-Nice.

The “Race to the Sun,” the season’s stage race opener, is a UCI-sanctioned event but was finally held under the auspices of the FFC, much to the ire of world cycling president Pat McQuaid.

A statement from the UCI following a meeting of its management committee in Denmark on Thursday said: “Following the request by Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), for the suspension of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), the UCI Management Committee, meeting in Snekkersten, Denmark, on June 12-13, today decided to suspend the FFC with immediate effect.”

The UCI president rebuked the FFC for a lack of loyalty to the UCI and its members and for having breached UCI Statutes and Regulations by actively and openly supporting the organization, outside the UCI framework, of the last edition of the Paris-Nice, an event organized by ASO.

The UCI Management Committee imposed a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (US$9,600) on the FFC and suspended it until Dec. 31.

The statement said that no French riders or events would be under threat from the consequences of the decision.

“The UCI Management Committee rejected the option to exclude French riders from the World Championships and other international events, in particular the Olympic Games,” it said.

McQuaid said he was “satisfied that the sanctions did not affect French riders or events. The sanctions mean the French federation, according to the UCI, cannot participate in the next UCI Congress, will be unable to put forward candidates for elections, cannot work on committees or commissions, and will forego, or not be allowed to organize a world championships.”

Later, the French government announced its complete backing to the FFC.

“The punishment given by the UCI will not resolve the current crisis in international cycling in any way at all. Only dialog and discussions will achieve that,” a statement from the French Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports said.

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