The news of the Irish Cycling Federation EGM rejecting the endorsement of Pat McQuaid’s candidacy for a third term as UCI president was amazing. Whatever you may think of the issue, the fact that a grassroots action was able to grow strong enough to overturn a decision made by the board is astounding. Especially since they were under no obligation to call an EGM It’s proof positive that the powerless in fact do have power.
So now Pat’s ability to run for president lies in the hands of a few Swiss judges. Is he allowed to ask for a Swiss endorsement because he lives there, or is “international endorsement shopping” not allowed?
I’m torn on this issue. Although I usually try to be fair, I cannot ignore the fact that I think Pat McQuaid has been disastrous to the sport of cycling. So of course, I don’t want him to be the next president. I don’t know Cookson, and I don’t like the concept of “anybody but …”, but in this case I can’t help but feeling that way.
That said, I would like him to run for president again. Although I would love the Swiss judges to slap him on the wrist and explain that this cheap shopping around for an endorsement is not cricket, and although I would love to see the arrogance that oozes from it to be punished, I also would love to see an actual race for the presidency.
Ideally, an election race is a chance to exchange ideas. At the very least, it’s a time where the candidates will have to answer the tough questions from their constituents. Due to the way the UCI election is held, there are a few too many steps between the cyclist and/or fan at the base and the race for the top, but it’s better than nothing. If nothing else, the candidates will have to unfold their plans and can be held to account when executing those plans or failing to. Without a race, the UCI will basically get a president who is free to do as he pleases. Cookson may do a very good job of it, but what’s the actual job he’s planning to do?
Therefore I say: “Pat for candidate”. Hopefully followed by a crushing defeat.