WADA raises question marks over UCI’s acceptance of Armstrong donation

Updated: Oct 25, 2012, 18:10 PM IST

London: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has raised question marks over the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) acceptance of a donation from Lance Armstrong, saying it could lead to suggestions of lack of impartiality.

The UCI admitted this week that banned cyclist Armstrong gave them more than 125,000 dollars in donations.

Pat McQuaid, the president of the UCI, said at a press conference this week that it may have been a mistake to take the money from Armstrong but did not rule out accepting similar donations from its biggest stars in the future.

This is a highly unusual policy from a governing body and could call into question the integrity of officials if an athlete later becomes the centre of a disciplinary procedure.

“There is nothing in the [WADA] code, nor the standards, prohibiting a signatory from accepting donations towards its anti-doping program from one of its own current athletes,” the Telegraph quoted David Howman, the director general of WADA, as saying.

“Why a signatory would accept any donation from a current athlete is really the question, particularly if it is not disclosed to the world. Such acceptance has the potential to seriously compromise the integrity of the signatory and obviously lead to suggestions of a lack of impartiality with regards to the athlete concerned,’ he added.

“WADA certainly does not recommend donations of this sort, however if they are to be made and accepted then they ought immediately to be globally disclosed so that all other athletes and the world at large are aware,” he said.

Floyd Landis, one of Armstrong’s former teammates, testified to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that the American’s donation was hush money from Armstrong to cover up a failed dope test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland.