London, June 04, 2013: British Cycling President, Brian Cookson, today announced that he is willing to offer himself as a candidate for the position of President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (International Cycling Union). Elections take place at the Annual Congress in Florence, Italy, in September.
Cookson said: “I am today announcing that I am standing as a candidate for the Presidency of the UCI. I have the full support and nomination of my home federation, British Cycling, and I respectfully ask for the support of the national cycling federations of the world and the whole international cycling family.
I am not doing this lightly as I know how much needs to be done. When I became the President of British Cycling in 1996, the Federation was deeply troubled and close to bankruptcy. Since that time cycling in my country has been transformed beyond recognition. Many wonderful people have helped this process, motivated by a passion to do the best for cycling, and I have been proud to lead them.
This transformation has been achieved, above all, by creating a well run, stable federation governed on the principles of honesty, transparency and clear divisions of responsibility. These principles are even more important for an international federation.
Cycling has been at the heart of my life for as long as I can remember. It has shaped my personality as much as it has my professional career, and I will always be grateful for the sheer enjoyment, inspiration and opportunity that cycling has given me. I still ride my bike almost daily.
Many good things have happened in our sport around the world in recent years, and I am proud that British cyclists and British events such as London 2012 have played their part in showing what a superb sport we have in cycling, in all its diversity.
But the passion I and many others have for cycling cannot hide the fact that our international body, the UCI, remains hugely distracted, continuing to flounder in waves of damaging historical controversies. For far too many people our sport is associated with doping, with decisions that are made behind closed doors and with ceaseless conflicts with important members of the cycling family and other key stakeholders. This situation is deeply damaging for our sport, and it has severely compromised the UCI’s ability to develop and communicate some of the good work that is happening across the world.
The stakeholder consultation exercise held this year by the UCI has clearly demonstrated that there are many excellent aspects to the UCI, with much good work underway, but all of this has been severely compromised by the widespread absence of confidence in the integrity of the organisation.
Against this backdrop, and after careful consideration, I have decided to stand for the Presidency of the UCI. This is because I passionately believe that the UCI needs to embrace a new way of doing things, and address, head on, some of the critical challenges facing our sport.
We must restore cycling’s credibility. The first priority for the new UCI president must be to change the way that anti doping is managed so that people can have confidence in the sport. We must also urgently carry out a fully independent investigation into the allegations of corruption in this area which have so damaged the UCI’s reputation.
Cycling is not the only sport with problems but if we don’t have a sport that parents can send their children to with absolute confidence then we are failing. If elected I will devote myself to rebuilding relations with WADA and establishing with them a completely independent body to deal with anti-doping in cycling so that no-one can doubt that it is being tackled without fear or favour. I will also seek their full co-operation in the independent investigation into the UCI’s past.
In the next few weeks, I will publish my manifesto, which will outline clear recommendations to tackle the future challenges for our sport, as well as specific policies to address those problems from the past that still haunt us today.
More broadly, I want to see a UCI whose culture and way of doing things is defined by openness, transparency, and a commitment to more collegiate decision making. We need to work for the good of cycling globally, and not protect vested interests, wherever they may lie. The best way we can achieve this is to be much more open on how we operate and make decisions. In essence, my manifesto will outline how I would build trust in the UCI, and what our vision should be, for the future.
I believe that I have a strong and proven track record in delivering positive change in cycling, and in a way that is collegiate – not confrontational – as my time as President of British Cycling shows. It is this style of approach that I want to bring to the UCI.
I would be truly honoured to be elected UCI President, but I also understand the magnitude of the challenges we face. If successful in my campaign, I will do all in my powers to turn my vision of a more open and modern UCI into reality, in full partnership with all the other stakeholders in the sport we love”.
BRIAN COOKSON OBE – BIOGRAPHY
GBR – Great Britain. Date of birth 22 June 1951.
Marital status Married, 3 children. Languages: English, French conversation.
Sporting Career: Club level cyclist at road, track, cyclo-cross and mountain biking. Regional road champion in 1971 and still cycles daily.
Sports Administration Career: UCI International Commissaire (1986 – 2009) incl. Olympic Games, multiple World Championships and international stage races
President of British Cycling Federation (1996 – …)
Represented cycling on British National Olympic Committee (1997 – …)
Member of UCI Management Committee (2009 – …)
President of UCI Cyclo-Cross Commission (2009 – 2011)
President of UCI Road Commission (2011 – …)
Awarded OBE for services to cycling in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2008
British Cycling has, under Brian’s presidency, achieved the following:
• Multiple UCI Road, Track and BMX World Championship gold medals including Mark Cavendish, Nicole Cooke, Emma Pooley, Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Jason Kenny, Laura Trott, Shanaze Reade and Lucy Garner
• 19 Olympic gold medals
• 28 Paralympic gold medals
• One Tour de France winner
• Unprecedented growth in participation and membership – over one million more people have taken up recreational cycling since 2009
• Diploma in Landscape Architecture, Manchester Polytechnic
• Honorary Fellow, University of Central Lancashire
Professional Career (retired March 2013)
• Chartered Landscape Architect, Urban Designer and Regeneration specialist
• Executive Director (Regeneration) at the Borough of Pendle (local authority in Lancashire, England) —- Will Shand