I have just read an interesting piece on the cycle racing blog, “The Inner Ring."
It appears you may as well try to oust the Pope as try to get the UCI’s president Pat McQuaid removed from office.
This doesn’t surprise me, I have seen the workings of Cycling’s national governing bodies both in the UK and the United States, and they are structured pretty much the same as the UCI is described.
Clubs affiliated to their national governing body send delegates to an annual congress where officials are elected. These officials in turn become national delegates and get to elect a President and other officials at the world level at the UCI Congress held every four years.
At the club level and even at a national level, work is often on a volunteer unpaid basis; however, if you get elected to a national level there are certain perks. Travel is one of them; an all expenses paid trip to Switzerland every four years to the UCI congress for a start.
Then there is the Olympic Games every four years; who wouldn’t like to go to the Olympics for free? The top officials that represent each individual sport for each country get to go. There is an awful lot of working hard for little or no reward to get to these top positions, but when you get there it is like being the member of an exclusive club.
So having worked so hard to reach the top, even at a lower national level, are you going to make waves at a world level and vote the head guy out of office? Unlikely, unless you have aspirations to be President yourself, in which case you had better have a lot of buddies who you can count on to vote for you.
I’m sure many of the people who voted McQuaid into office ended up with nice paying jobs with the UCI. Others no doubt get to go to big races all over the world. The Tour de France, The Giro d’Italia, etc, etc.
If you are one of McQuaid’s cronies why would you vote him out? You would have to start all over again to ensure having an “In” with the new guy. If you back the wrong guy and he doesn’t get voted in, you lose; you are out of the exclusive club for ever.
McQuaid was first voted into office in 2005, and re-elected in 2009. The next vote is not for another two years in 2013, and there is no guarantee he will step down then.
In the mean time the Professional Riders might break from the UCI and form their own league, rather like the NFL and the NBA.
This looks like a distinct possibility, because McQuaid will stay where he is at least until 2013, and the UCI is not going to change. For that to happen the whole system would have to change, right down to the national and even the club level.