World cycling chiefs suspend French federation

Federation fined, but riders and events not penalised

The International Cycling Union (UCI) on Thursday announced the suspension of the French cycling federation (FFC) for the remainder of 2008 for lacking "loyalty".

The decision follows months of tit-for-tat feuding between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and major race organisers such as the Tour de France, which has been supported by the FFC in recent months.

The FFC became embroiled in an ongoing dispute between the UCI and ASO (Amaury Sports Organisation) - the company which runs the Tour de France - in March this year prior to another ASO race, Paris-Nice. The 'Race to the Sun', the season's stage race opener, is a UCI-sanctioned event but was finally held under the auspices of the FFC, much to the ire of world cycling president Pat McQuaid.

A statement from the UCI following a meeting of its management committee in Denmark on Thursday said: "Following the request by Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), for the suspension of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), the UCI Management Committee, meeting in Snekkersten, Denmark, on 12-13 June, today decided to suspend the FFC with immediate effect.

"The UCI President rebuked the FFC for a lack of loyalty to the UCI and its members and for having breached UCI Statutes and Regulations by actively and openly supporting the organisation, outside the UCI framework, of the last edition of the Paris-Nice, an event organised by ASO.

"The UCI Management Committee imposed a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs on the FFC. The FFC will be suspended until 31 December 2008."

The statement said that no French riders or events would be under threat from the consequences of the decision.

"The UCI Management Committee rejected the option to exclude French riders from the World Championships and other international events, in particular the Olympic Games."

McQuaid said he was "satisfied that the sanctions did not affect French riders or events".

The sanctions mean the French federation, according to the UCI, cannot participate in the next UCI Congress, will be unable to put forward candidates for elections, cannot work on committees or commissions, and will forego, or not be allowed to organise a world championships."

© AFP 2008

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