Row ‘threatens’ Cycle Tour
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Cape Town - If the Pedal Power Association (PPA) and Cycling South Africa cannot reach an agreement over changes to the national body’s constitution, one of the first victims could be the world’s biggest timed cycling event – the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.
The PPA has filed an application to the Western Cape High Court to contest changes in 2012, which it claims saw them being written out of Cycling SA’s constitution.
These changes included a requirement that all riders taking part in events, even fun rides, would have to be licensed with the national body.
But the PPA lashed out at Cycling SA, calling the licensing fee a tax that would stunt the growth of local cycling, adding that it also put the association and its events at whims of Cycling SA, effectively taking control out of the association’s hands.
However, the national body warned that if the PPA did not conform with these changes, events such the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour could be declared unsanctioned, barring Cycling SA’s licensed riders, which includes most of the country’s top cyclists, from taking part in the event.
PPA chairman Steve Haywood, whose association facilitates the Cycle Tour, said: “In reality, (these licensed riders) represent just 1 percent of the number of people who take part… It won’t be a massive blow, but it would be unfortunate. I don’t see (Cycling SA) declaring it unsanctioned. It would see hundreds of top riders missing out on a chance to compete.”
He said the association could not agree to the “illegal” changes to the constitution if it meant compromising the majority of their riders.
“You can’t tax people for going out on a fun ride… Most of our rides take place for charities, now what is going to happen? Young people want to take part, and now the poor child has to take out a licence. Casual riders are just not going to see the benefits of this. All the money goes towards funding the pro riders instead.”
An annual licence costs R75, while a one-day licence is R30.
Haywood said the association was keen to remain in the fold of Cycling SA and that is why it had spent most of last year trying to negotiate an agreement. The application, and possible court battle, will be the association’s final attempt to try and find a middle ground.
But William Newman, the president of Cycling SA, said resources were being wasted on fighting changes that were ultimately beneficial to the sport. “I don’t see the licence as a tax – the licensing is necessary… It’s a way for us to unify the sport and nurture athletes,” Newman said.
He pointed out that if all riders were licensed, it would be much easier to facilitate the sport as everyone would be on the same grounds and could be held accountable to the same standards. It would also be easier to nurture talent if riders were brought into the system at an early age.
Newman said that Cycling SA was held accountable for the safety of all cyclists at events, and the mandatory licence would help administrate this.
“The court case is a blow to the stomach,” he said. “If it comes to arbitration, I want it to stop there.”