LAUSANNE: Hein Verbruggen, Dutch former head of the world cycling union, has died at 75 after a long illness.
Verbruggen headed the UCI from 1991 to 2005 and was later appointed honorary president. He had also been a long-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, stepping down after the Beijing Games of 2008.
Messages of condolence were issued by, among others, the IOC and the UCI.
Verbruggen’s sports administatove career was not without controversy, most notably because he was UCI president during the years subsequently scarred by the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
In 2010 Floyd Landis accused Verbruggen of having received $100,000 in bribes to cover up an Armstrong positive doping test.
Verbruggen always denied having accepted money from Armstrong and an internal UCI inquiry concluded in 2015 that there was no indication of a financial agreement or corruption between the two.
The controversial conversion of the original GAISF into SportAccord with its associated HQ move from Monte Carlo to Lausanne was also Verbruggen’s work during his leadership.
In the event the alignment of SportAccord with the convention of the same name proved disastrous for both organisations. It has now reverted to a variation of the original acronym as the Global Association of International Sports Federations.
Verbruggen once told a congress of AIPS, the international sports journalists’ association, that sporting ethics went downhill when professional administrators replaced amateur directors.