Katusha ends MPCC membership


Katusha has opted to end their membership of the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) citing a conflict of interest with International Cycling Union (UCI) rules for doing so.

The MPCC was formed in 2007 as a voluntary association that sought to implement strict rules to deter doping cheats and medicinal abuse, with Katusha joining in 2013.

Katusha avoided a UCI ban this month despite flouting its rules by having two riders fail drug tests in a 12-month period.

Eduard Vorganov was provisionally suspended by the UCI after he tested positive for Meldonium in a sample taken in January this year, while Luca Paolini was banned from last year's Tour for France after testing positive for cocaine.

The UCI ruled that a ban should not be imposed as Paolini's failed test was for recreational not performance-enhancing purposes.

However, Katusha could still have faced sanction from the MPCC, prompting the Russian team to leave the organization.

A Katusha statement read: "Considering the clear changes and the evolution of the UCI in its approach to the fight against doping, an evolution and adaptation of the MPCC rules would have been necessary. In particular, considering the fact that a similar rule was introduced in 2015 by the UCI, one would have assumed that the MPCC rule imposing a collective sanction against team in the case of multiple doping offenses was to be withdrawn.

"However, no amendment to the MPCC rules were adopted, creating a duality of rules with the UCI Regulations which would undoubtedly lead to a conflicting situation.

"Now Katusha is facing a very difficult position: on the one hand the Disciplinary Commission of the UCI decided not to impose any team suspension following the cases of Luca Paolini and Eduard Vorganov but on the other hand the MPCC still considers that a suspension is necessary in application of its own rules. 

"Moreover, a suspension of Katusha during a WorldTour race based on the MPCC Rules would violate the UCI Regulations of mandatory participation and the Disciplinary Commission would then be obliged to sanction the Team.

"Considering that the UCI Regulations implemented a similar team suspension provision in 2015 and that the UCI Disciplinary Commission decided not to pronounce any suspension, Katusha would have expected the MPCC to adopt the same position which would have been compliant with the UCI Regulations as well as adequate and proportionate.

"However, Katusha understands that the MPCC intends to strictly apply its rule regardless of the similar UCI provision recently adopted, despite a clear decision taken in this case by the UCI Disciplinary Commission and without acknowledging the specificity of the present case. 

"Katusha regrets the position of the MPCC and in particular its refusal to adapt its rules to the mandatory UCI Regulations. As a consequence, Katusha has no other choice but to leave the MPCC with immediate effect."

Orica-GreenEdge also left the MPCC on Tuesday, stating they would rather work with "official organisations in collaboration with all the other teams and stakeholders of cycling".