The UCI is funding the “UCI Independent Commission” (UCIIC) looking into whether or not it is complicit in the doping problems ransacking the sport. Some expect good things from the UCIIC, others think it’s window-dressing because the man suggesting its members has close ties to McQuaid & Verbruggen. I’m willing to keep an open mind.
Simultaneously, the UCI is starting a “wide-ranging consultation exercise involving all cycling’s stakeholders to build a bright future for cycling and work together to tackle issues of concern within the sport.” Although the focus is very different (looking at the past vs. the future), it feels the two could get in the way of each other.
Furthermore, the written invitation was sent to some, but far from all stakeholders. As I didn’t receive an invite (nor would I have expected one), I’ll offer my free consultation session here.
Probably the oddest part of this consultation is that although some sponsors have received an invite, the concept of “sponsor” is completely absent from the topics of consultation suggested in the letter.
So cycling, the sport with the greatest reliance on sponsors of any major sport (due to its lack of a box office and its relatively low TV contracts) is going to try and build a bright future without discussing how sponsors might feature in it?
Another issue is that the time to respond is excessively short. I received the letter On December 10, not directly from the UCI but via-via-via-via. Several important sponsors I spoke to are unaware of the existence of this letter even today. Yet the final date to respond was on December 10!
Of course the UCI can run any consultation it sees fit, and invite whomever they want. However, if the goal is to truly get input from all stakeholders and really build a bright future, more time, more participants and more topics may be required. Doing so would give the process more credibility.
It may mean that this process ends after the UCIIC reports its findings, which may not be what some intended. But I think that would actually be better; first deal with the past and then with the future. Otherwise, should the UCIIC lay blame with some of people involved in the consultation, it would immediately taint the outcome of said consultation. And that definitely would not help in building a bright future.