UCI versus ASO: CAS declines jurisdiction

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07.03.2008/ The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected the request for provisional and conservatory measures filed by the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT), by seven professional cycling teams (Quickstep, Rabobank, Liquigas, Milram, Silence-Lotto, CSC and Saunier Duval-Scott) as well as the 'Cyclistes Professionnels Associés'(CPA).

A request for arbitration had been filed with the CAS on 5 March 2008 requesting that the CAS declare illegal or abusive the injunction preventing the teams from participating in the Paris-Nice race, under the threat of their own suspension, or that of their professional cyclists.  The request was directed against the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO).  Moreover, the claimants sought a provisional authorisation from the CAS to participate in the 2008 Paris-Nice race without prejudice of the full examination of the legal or abusive character of the decision taken by the UCI to prevent the teams from competing in the race.

The UCI and the ASO both submitted that the CAS was not competent to decide this dispute.

The CAS decision taken today concerns only the request for provisional measures.  The claimants have the possibility of continuing this arbitration procedure and requesting that the issue of jurisdiction be examined again by a panel of CAS arbitrators.  However, such a procedure would take several days in order to respect the deadlines set out in the Code of Sports-related Arbitration.

The CAS Secretary General, Matthieu Reeb, has affirmed that the CAS remains at the disposal of all the parties concerned, should they require it, to find a solution to this dispute, by means of arbitration or mediation, either immediately or at another time convenient to the parties.

In a press release on Thursday ASO said: "As it regularly expressed during the negotiations held with the AIGCP in regards to the participation in the Paris-Nice race, A.S.O. understands and shares the concerns of the riders and teams, who, under threat from the UCI, would like to ask the TAS to cancel the interdiction of participation in the race, announced by the UCI."

ASO continued by saying: "However, the request from the IPCT to the TAS, stemming from the dispute between the UCI and the teams relative to " UCI PRO TOUR license" with which A.SO. has no ties to whatsoever, A.S.O. can not be associated with this legal action."

As far as ASO is concerned, Paris - Nice is legal: "A.S.O. thus reaffirms to the riders and teams the absolute legality of the Paris-Nice race, which is placed under the aegis of the French Cycling Federation according to French law."

ASO asked the UCI once more to negotiate: "Consequently, it leaves reason to believe the UCI will finally accept the mediation offered by the French Secretary of State for Sport, Mr. Bernard Laporte. This complete and precise long-term project could in effect bring an end to this conflict that has damaged the sport of cycling for too long of a time."

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