Inquiry Offers Reduced Sanctions For Doping Confessions

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GENEVA, Feb 11, 2014 (AFP) – An inquiry commission set up by cycling’s
global governing body the UCI on Tuesday appealed to riders who were doped in
the past to come forward in exchange for reduced punishment.

“The primary purpose of our investigation is not to punish doping offenders
but to learn from the past so we can help ensure a better future for cycling,”
commission chief Dick Marty said in a statement.

“We will treat all witnesses fairly and so I urge anyone in the cycling
community with information that can help our investigation to come forward,”
he added.

The three-member Cycling Independent Reform Commission was set up in
January to investigate historic doping in cycling and allegations that the UCI
had been involved in previous wrongdoing.

The commission said its main goal is to determine how a culture of doping
was perpetuated between 1998 and 2013, and to establish who was to blame.

It has the power to propose reduced sanctions to any rider, official,
agent, race organiser or team staff member who admits to an anti-doping
offence.

It can reduce the sanction further if the individual provides valuable
information concerning doping practices, and is also empowered to let those
who confess keep past prize money.

And it also has the power to propose case-by-case reductions for anyone
currently suspended from the sport and who reveals more details — though any
such softening will have to be approved by the original sanctioning body, the
UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Its probe is to conducted on a strictly confidential basis, it underlined.

The commissioned was created after the ugly UCI leadership contest of
September 2013, which saw Briton Brian Cookson oust Irishman Pat McQuaid.

McQuaid was in charge for eight years, succeeding Dutchman Hein Verbruggen,
in the saddle from 1991 to 2005.

They have rejected claims that while they were in power, the UCI did too
little to stem doping and beat the cheats, notably disgraced US rider Lance
Armstrong.

“The Cycling Independent Reform Commission will not only help us learn from
the past, but will also play an important role in shaping our future processes
and practices,” Cookson said on Tuesday.

Swiss member of parliament and former prosecutor Marty was a heavyweight
choice to head the commission.

He has also headed a Council of Europe probe into US “rendition” flights
and secret prisons for al-Qaeda suspects, and an inquiry into human organ
trafficking in Kosovo involving serving politicians.

The other members of the commission are German anti-doping and legal expert
Ulrich Haas, and Australian Peter Nicholson, a former United Nations criminal
investigator.

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