New Rules for Cycling Federations
Sometimes obvious rules need to be laid down in order to run a sporting federation.
others just a slap on the wrist? It circles back around to reputation and money.
Igor Makarov is the owner of the Katusha squad, president of the oil and gas company ITERA and is the top banana of the Russian cycling federation. Conflict of interest much?
Is it any surprise that the president of the Russian cycling federation, who also owns the cycling team and happens to be dirty rich with oil money, hands down the smallest punishment that he can? But the federation crazy train doesn't stop there.
A relic from the Soviet era and rider from the Astana team (also in my opinion a zombie) Alexandre Vinokourov might have a plan "B" when it comes to retirement - president of the Kazakhstan cycling federation. Sure it's not as lucrative as speaking engagements like what other retired professionals make, but it's a start (seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is ranked seventh highest paid public speaker at $100,000 a pop).
The current Kazakhstan cycling federation president Kairat Kelimbetov said that Vino could be the guy for the job when his term runs out. Really? Vino?
Let's take a brief walk down memory lane and remember that the Astana rider's past is as checkered as a chess board. Should he really be in charge of a cycling federation whose duty is also to hand out punishment? It's the old cliché, "fox guarding the henhouse."
This is obviously no way to run an organization. There needs to be a clear and separate division between who's in charge and the sport they govern. When they are too closely bound together it only leads to an embarrassing conflict of interest. So I propose a stricter guideline for cycling federations. And I'm not proposing anything crazy - just some common sense suggestions.
- A person who sits on a federation's board of directors can't be guilty of or be implicated in a doping offense.
- A person who sits on a federation's board of directors can't own a cycling team.
- A person who sits on a federation's board of directors can't be a zombie (this is more directly aimed at Vinokourov).
I know what you're thinking, "Neil, rule number 1 seems harsh. A person even implicated in a doping offense can't be part of his nation's cycling federation?" Yes Skippy it is harsh - but this is some of the hard steps we have to take to drive out the old guard that still influences the sport behind the scenes. This older generation is the one who has kept the omerta alive in this sport and rule number 1, no matter how unfair it may seem, is one of the ways in which the sport can improve its image and remove the specters of the past. Concerning rule number 3 - that's just common sense.