The independent commission set up by the UCI to investigate the Lance Armstrong scandal has called on cycling’s world governing body to reconsider its rejection of a truth and reconciliation process.
The World Anti-Doping Agency, United States Anti-Doping Agency and Change Cycling Now all believe it is necessary for a full or partial amnesty to be offered to riders, team management, or others involved in professional cycling, who confess to past involvement in doping in order for witnesses to give evidence without fear of punishment from the UCI.
USADA, whose 1,000-page ‘reasoned decision’ document exposed Armstrong as leader of the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”, has provided the commission with a draft truth and reconciliation proposal but the process requires the agreement of both the relevant anti-doping bodies and the UCI.
However, the UCI has told the commission, set up to establish the full extent of doping and investigate allegations made against the UCI, that the proposal was unacceptable as part of this inquiry.
As a result, WADA, USADA and CCN have informed the commission they will not participate in the inquiry unless the terms of reference are changed to include a truth and reconciliation process.
A statement released by the independent commission read: “It is of great regret to the commission that the UCI, WADA and USADA have not been able to reach agreement to a truth and reconciliation process, and that WADA, USADA and CCN have indicated to the commission that they do not wish to participate in the inquiry on the present terms of reference.
“The commission is of the view that a truth and reconciliation process is desirable for the purposes of this inquiry, and that such a process would ensure that the most complete evidence is available to the commission at its hearing in April 2013. The commission is of the view that such a process would be in the interests not only of the Inquiry, but also of professional cycling as a whole.
“The commission, via the solicitors to the inquiry, has written to the UCI’s solicitors, urging the UCI to reconsider its position.”
The commission, whose panel includes 11-time Paralympic gold medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, will hold a public procedural hearing, to take place in central London “as soon as possible after January 21”, where the issue will be addressed with the UCI, while the scope of the terms of reference, particularly those relating to the UCI’s anti-doping procedures and whether convicted dopers should be able to work in the sport, will also be reconsidered.