ST QUENTIN EN YVELINES, France (Reuters) - Cycling should be ready to face an uncomfortable truth when the sport’s Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) publishes its report in the coming weeks, said the president of the governing body.
“We’ve committed to publishing the report they give us and we’re not going to get into a (soccer governing body) FIFA type situation of arguing about the report,” International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson told reporters at the track cycling world championships.
A FIFA report into corruption has been subject of much debate surrounding its publication.
Cookson assured there would be no such debate on the CIRC report, which could be redacted, but only for legal reasons.
“Unless there are legal reasons why names can’t be named, then contributions will be named,” he said.
“I think we should all prepare ourselves for that ... When you open a can of worms you find a lot of worms.”
With a budget of over $3 million, a three-member panel was set up in January 2014 to look into the ugly past of cycling, especially — although not only — the 1998-2013 period, which comprises the Festina affair and the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
UCI changed its regulations in order to “propose reduced sanctions or an exemption from any sanctions to people who ... admit having breached the anti-doping regulation”.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of new revelations because I think we have a pretty good idea of how widespread the problem was,” said Cookson.
Cycling, however, is no stranger to drama, having dealt with drugs scandals involving top names in the sport, including Tour de France winners Armstrong and Alberto Contador.
“But I don’t think there’s any other sport that has opened itself up to that level of scrutiny,” said Cookson.
The CIRC will make recommendations which Cookson believes the UCI should be in a position to implement as they cannot be legally challenged.
“They will make recommendations that will be possible to implement,” said Cookson, who will pay attention to those who may have refused to collaborate.
“We can probably draw some conclusions from lack of contribution.
“Equally we may well be in a position to take disciplinary action against people who are named by more than one source as having done something that is against the regulations.”
Armstrong was one of those who contributed.
“Lance Armstrong always has an agenda and I don’t want to say any more until we see what he’s said to the commission,” added Cookson.
Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar