Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Cookson Denies Verbruggen Claims

The president of cycling’s governing body has denied his predecessor Hein Verbruggen’s claims that they have reached an agreement to end legal proceedings which would have seen the Dutchman retain his role as honorary president of the UCI.

Verbruggen, who left his post as president in 2005, had threatened legal action against cycling’s governing body over what he described as an “outrageously biased, misleading and frequently wrong” investigation into the sport’s doping past.

The current president, Brian Cookson, has previously called for Verbruggen to step down but the Dutchman has told insidethegames.biz that they had reached an agreement which means: “Mr Cookson renounces definitively from asking me to resign from my honorary presidency and agrees not to mention this question any more publicly or privately.” According to insidethegames, the UCI also paid £29,000 towards Verbruggen’s legal costs.

However, Cookson has denied that is the case and stated that any agreement with Verbruggen was now void.

“I was elected to change the way the UCI conducts itself and therefore, following a request from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), I indeed met with Mr Hein Verbruggen last summer,” read a statement. “We came to a confidential agreement which was to ensure, amongst other things, that he would stop using his influence to criticise and cause trouble for the UCI. Since Mr Verbruggen never respected his commitments, the agreement is considered null. No money has ever been paid to Mr Verbruggen since I became President.”

A 227-page report into cycling’s doping culture said that the UCI colluded with Lance Armstrong to cover up positive tests at the 1999 Tour de France, when Verbruggen was in charge of the organisation.

Verbruggen, 73, said he started a court case against the UCI and Cookson, as well as lodging a complaint to the International Olympic Committee ethics commission which resulted in the IOC mediating between the parties with an agreement signed to end legal proceedings.

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