Oz compression clothing brand is first cycling sponsor to claim damages from UCI executives McQuaid & Verbruggen
Jamie Fuller, chairman of Skins, the Australian compression clothing brand, has filed suit against UCI president Pat McQuaid and former president Hein Verbruggen, saying "our hand has been forced into taking legal action." The suit has been filed in Switzerland by Cédric Aguet, the same attorney retained by Paul Kimmage, who announced he was suing UCI top brass last week.
Skins is a sponsor of cycling teams, including Rabobank. In a website statement flagging the letter Aguet sent to the UCI annoucing the suit, the Australian company said it was concerned for its brand image. It has estimated that $2m worth of damage has been done to its image, and that Verbruggen and McQuaid were responsible for this damage. Fuller said Skins had been "betrayed" by the UCI's inaction over doping in professional cycling and accuses the UCI's top brass of "gross mismanagement."
Aguet's letter said:
"When it decided to invest in cycling not only as a sponsor but also in extending its product range through massive investments in R&D, SKINS was under the illusion that professional cycling had been fundamentally reformed to contain doping and to minimise the risks of scandals with which the brand of any sponsor could be associated.
"It has now been proven that these legitimate expectations have been betrayed on the grounds you are aware of, which the press published at large. It has also been proven that the way the UCI, Henricus Verbruggen respectively Patrick McQuaid have organised the fight against doping, have communicated in that field and have then dealt with the case of Lance Armstrong is the main cause for the total loss of confidence in professional cycling by the public, which harms SKINS, as well as any other sponsor or supplier.Article continues below
"Therefore, the acts and omissions by the UCI, Henricus Verbruggen respectively Patrick McQuaid have caused the prejudice SKINS now suffers, which prejudice exceeds the amount of USD 2,000,000, sum which the latter intends to recover through the Courts."