Coming clean: cycling’s watershed moment

Filed under - Sport

Posted 18 January 2013
lead image

Lance Armstrong's admission this week that he cheated during his cycling career will have profound repercussions through the sport that goes far beyond doping. Armstrong painted a picture of a sporting hierarchy that supported a culture of doping, a clear indication of a lack of good governance.

This is a watershed moment for cycling and creates an opportunity for real reform. Although the Armstrong confession does not answer many of the key questions about how cycling is run, it shows the need for a transparent and inclusive reform process to help world cycling build a reputation for honesty and accountability.

The fight against doping may have improved in the past few years as the technology for detecting doping has improved and out-of-competition testing has become more intelligent, but the governance issues at the International Cycling Union (UCI) and within the world of cycling that Armstrong referred to have not been openly addressed.

The UCI must acknowledge that as the lead organisation running cycling it has to take responsibility for the events that have damaged the image of the sport rather than claiming other sports have problems too. The scandals in cycling are by far the most pervasive in sport.

Preparing for change

When UCI established an independent commission to investigate the report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accusing Armstrong of doping, organising and bullying others to dope and of an improper relationship between him and the UCI, Transparency International welcomed the commission and proposed a series of actions to ensure it was both accountable and transparent. The remit of the independent commission, however, does not go far enough.

In addition to the current investigations it should find a way to allow all involved in the sport, past and present, to testify without fear of repercussions and anonymously if necessary. USADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency have so far not agreed to be part of the independent commission process because they have different views on its terms of reference.

These differences should be resolved so that an inclusive approach involving all the key players in cycling can agree on the scope of the investigations, including a truth and reconciliation process, which results in recommendations that apply to the sport as a whole. This is will not be easy within the current deadline for delivering a report in June and before the UCI congress elects the management committee in September. Nevertheless, the commission should take as much time as possible to conduct its business thoroughly and professionally.

Cycling is a popular sport with millions of amateurs and thousands of professionals participating every day. Those running the sport have an opportunity to repair the damage to its image and rebuild trust by operating transparently. Armstrong said he would be the first to participate in a truth and reconciliation commission. This can and should happen.

Press contact(s):

Chris Sanders
Manager, Media and Public Relations
press@transparency.org
+49 30 3438 20 666

Country / Territory - Switzerland   |   United States   
Region - Global   |   Americas   |   Europe and Central Asia   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Governance   |   Sport   
Tags - Good governance   |   Cycling   |   Lance Armstrong   |   Anti-doping   |   USADA   |   International Cycling Union   |   World Anti-Doping Agency   

By leaving a comment, you acknowledge the terms of use for our comments board.

Stay informed

Related news

13
Nov
2014

Transparency International calls for full publication of World Cup investigation

Transparency International says FIFA’s handling of the investigation into the bidding for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 is flawed and incomplete.

21
Oct
2014

Transparency International calls for FIFA to publish World Cup investigation

Transparency International calls on FIFA to publish its investigation into the 2018 and 2022 football World Cup awarding process. If there is ...

Sport and Corruption: Game on!

Sport should be about integrity, not corruption. Here’s how to make that happen.

Related publications

Publication cover image

Working Paper 2 / 2014: Corruption and sport: building integrity to prevent abuses

Sport is a global phenomenon engaging billions of people and generating annual revenues of more than US$ 145 billion. But corruption and challenges ...

Working paper published – Sep 2014

Publication cover image

Staying on side: how to stop match-fixing

Through our Staying on Side project, anti-corruption experts and professional football league representatives joined with experts in gambling ...

Report published – Aug 2014