The media's role in the clean-up and reform of the UCI

News & Results

12/17/2012| 0 comments
by Mark Watson
Is the media letting Pat McQuaid and the UCI frame public opinion to their advantage?

The media's role in the clean-up and reform of the UCI

A look at how the media coverage of the current crisis in cycling may intentionally or unintentionally be contributing to preserving a status quo, which will lead to the UCI organization failing to undergo needed reforms in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal (4 pages)

So why think their findings are biased or swayed?

It is obviously beyond the scope of this article to determine whether the commission is independent or not and this question is best left with the individual reader, or on a broader scale with each person showing an interest in the UCI’s role in the Armstrong affair.

However, it appears obvious the coverage published by many a media worldwide, including many major cycling media, is - intentionally or unintentionally - contributing to preserving a status quo, which will likely lead to current UCI leaders McQuaid and Verbruggen staying in power and the organization failing to carry through reforms which, in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, to many appear highly needed.

Let’s have a look at the media’s role in the coverage of an additional UCI-related news item.

On December 13 the UCI issued a statement announcing that it has engaged one of the world’s top four auditors, Dutch KPMG, to review its governance, look into its role in the Armstrong doping scandal and investigate accusations related to fraud and the use of bribes.

Covering the news, Cyclingnews published a story titled “ UCI announces independent audit of federation .” Road.cc wrote “Fans will get to have their say too, through Twitter and Facebook, says the UCI, which has also revealed that auditors KPMG have been instructed to carry out an independent review of the organisation's own governance,” WorldonBike.org published a story titled “ UCI announces independent audit of federation .”

The public is told that KPMG is carrying out an independent audit of the UCI and this belief is instilled in the minds of many a reader. However, the media fail to question whether KPMG will be able to carry out a truly independent audit of the UCI.

The media fail to report that the UCI has an existing relationship with KPMG. The auditing company has already been hired as the regular auditor of the UCI.

”Appointment of the auditor. The [UCI] Congress decided to appoint KPMG SA as the auditor of the UCI for the period between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2015. The Congress approved the contract between KPMG and the UCI.”

Can a company which has already been hired by the UCI to do their regular audits also conduct a completely independent audit of the same company – an audit set up to investigate accusations related to fraud, bribe and cover-ups?

If KPMG identifies any misconduct, they will reveal problems within the UCI, but at the same time such revelations would lead to a finger being pointed at KPMG for not having noticed any such issues during the time period in which they were already hired to audit the UCI and, therefore, responsible for detecting any irregularities.

Additionally, can any auditing company hired to audit the UCI conduct a completely independent audit in spite of being paid by the UCI to conduct the audit? Like with any other company working for another company – why cause problems for a company which is a source of revenues for

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