Katusha's exclusion from the WorldTour and how it may benefit the UCI
We analyze possible motives behind the UCI's exclusion of Katusha Team from the 2013 WorldTour, which has left Katusha in a cold and bleak midwinter of discontent. We look at possible effects of the exclusion of Team Katusha and the inclusion of Argos-Shimano and Saxo-Tinkoff.
On Monday it was announced by the International Cycling Union (UCI) that the final WorldTour licenses for the 2013 season had been awarded to Team Saxo-Tinkoff and Team Argos-Shimano, leaving both teams with guaranteed inclusion in the 2013 Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana and all other major professional road cycling races.
Most industry analysts had expected the battle for the final license to be a battle between Saxo-Tinkoff and Argos-Shimano. What few people had seen coming was the decision to include both teams in the WorldTour at the expense of Team Katusha, a strong team featuring the world number one rider Joaqium Rodriguez in its roster for 2013.
The UCI says the selection was made by a “Licences Commission” as a result of hearings held on 19, 21, 22, 28 November and 7 December 2012. The Licences Commission awards licenses based on a combination of sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria – described in the UCI cycling regulations as follows
“The ethical criterion takes account inter alia of the respect by the team or its members for:
a) the UCI regulations, inter alia as regards anti-doping, sporting conduct and the image of cycling;
b) its contractual obligations;
c) its legal obligations, particularly as regards payment of taxes, social security and keeping accounts;
d) the principles of transparency and good faith.
The financial criterion is assessed on the basis of the report by the auditors appointed by the UCI, taking account primarily of resources and financial stability.
The administrative criterion primarily covers the compliance of the application and registration documentation (contracts, insurance, bank guarantee, etc.) and the professionalism and rapidity with which this documentation is assembled, and respect for deadlines.”
The UCI cycling regulations specifies the Licences Commission features three members “having no other links with organized cycle sport” (2.15.214). It is allowed to make decisions with only two members present (2.15.219).
The members of the UCI Licences Commission are appointed by the management committee of the UCI on proposal of the Professional Cycling Council. They are appointed for a period of four years, curiously subject to unlimited renewal.
The UCI cycling regulations do not appear to describe how the President of the Licences Commission is elected, nor how the independence of the Licences Commission is continuously ensured. Including how it is ensured that the members of the Licences Commission aren’t in any way associated with interests, which may make them biased for or against specific sponsors of teams applying for WorldTour status.
The current members of the Professional Cycling Council are Vittorio Adorni (President, Ita), Rocco Cattaneo (Sui), Roger Legeay (Fra), Ramon Mendiburu (Esp), Stephen Roche (Irl), Eric Zabel (Ger), Charly Mottet (Fra), Christian Prudhomme (Fra), Roberto Amadio (Ita), Jonathan Vaughters (USA), Gianni Bugno (Ita), and Dario Cioni (Ita).
Since they are responsible for electing the “independent members” of the UCI Licences Commission one may contemplate how Professional Cycling Council members having strong links to the cycling world are able to elect independent Licences Commission members in an objective manner.
Additionally one may contemplate if it is recommendable having