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16th March 2018
Hein Verbruggen has launched a website which attempts to show that the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s (CIRC) investigation into the development of doping in cycling was flawed. He also told the BBC that he plans to sue the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – the organisation he presided over from 1991-2005 – for using the CIRC report to defame him.
Verbruggen’s website includes a detailed critique of the CIRC report, which he alleges was used by UCI President Brian Cookson and former World Anti-Doping Agency President, Dick Pound, to destroy his reputation. ‘It is an anti-Verbruggen pamphlet’, writes Verbruggen. ‘This report lacks a factual basis, is incomplete and biased and it doesn’t respect basic ethical principles, such as the right to defend yourself against accusations’.
He alleges that a 19-page report, which he gave to the CIRC in August 2014, was ignored. Verbruggen also lists detailed correspondence with the CIRC, which he also alleges was ignored. ‘This selective editing of facts and contents of documents has resulted in a final report that is designed only to please Brian Cookson and WADA’, he argues. ‘It deliberately ignores any element that might disprove their accusations against me, or prove their own “wrongdoings”, or give any credit to the fight against doping by the UCI when it was under my Presidency.’
The mandate of the CIRC report was to investigate ‘the causes of the pattern of doping that developed within cycling and allegations which implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over ineffective investigation of such practices’. Verbruggen argues that by ignoring allegations made in his report against WADA and Dick Pound, the CIRC report deliberately failed to fulfil its mandate by only investigating allegations that implicated the UCI.
In his critique, Verbruggen also mentions a number of conclusions reached in the CIRC report by page number which he alleges are ‘libellously false’. “If Mr Verbruggen wishes to sue the UCI, that of course is a matter for him”, Cookson told the BBC. “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that the CIRC report was a wholly independent investigation led by an extremely reputable and experienced team of experts. Their report and recommendations have been very helpful in rebuilding trust in cycling and the UCI.”
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