Fergal Lynch granted permission to ride in Britain

06 Aug 2014 Integrity

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today informed Fergal Lynch that it has lifted the restriction preventing him from riding in Great Britain and he has been granted permission to ride under BHA Rules of Racing as an overseas jockey, initially for a probationary period.

The decision to lift the restriction was made by BHA and followed the receipt of an application from Lynch, together with extensive written submissions, and subsequent interviews with Lynch and his representatives.

The lifting of this restriction will be subject to on-going review and is for an initial one year period. In addition, BHA has imposed, and Lynch has agreed to, several conditions which must be adhered to in order for Lynch to continue to be permitted to compete in Britain, as follows:

  1. That Lynch satisfactorily participates in a BHA integrity education video.
  2. That Lynch’s first ride is at a time and date agreed with BHA. The proposed date for this return, subject to condition 1 being satisfactorily delivered, is Monday 11 August at Ayr racecourse.
  3. That Lynch participates in the on-going delivery of BHA education programmes and educational material. Details of this programme and the timing of its commencement will be agreed in due course.
  4. The BHA reserves the right to withdraw this permission, in the event that Lynch is charged with any integrity-related breach of the Rules of Racing, or if the conditions set out above are not met.

As an overseas jockey, Lynch will continue to ride predominantly in other jurisdictions.

Adam Brickell, Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk for BHA, said:

“The decision to allow Fergal Lynch to return to riding in Great Britain was one which was not straightforward and one we gave a lot of consideration to. We were aware that we had to balance the reputation of the sport against assessment of the individual merits of his application.

“In this case we have reached the conclusion that it would be fair and reasonable to permit Lynch to ride in Britain, based on the merits of his case.

“Lynch has shown through his application and subsequent interviews that he has satisfactorily addressed the concerns raised by the Licensing Committee when it refused to grant him a British licence in 2011.

“He has demonstrated that he understands the gravity of his offences and the impact they had on British racing. He accepts the severity of the fine and sanctions that were imposed upon him and the consequences that they had on his career, and he has shown that he possesses the qualities to abide by the rules of other jurisdictions during his time riding in Ireland and overseas. We have been encouraged by the open manner of his engagement with the BHA during the course of the application.

“We also noted Lynch’s enthusiasm for helping others learn from his mistakes, which we will utilise as we look to further modernise our approach to integrity education, especially for younger riders. He has also acknowledged publicly his past mistakes, the level of his culpability, and expressed his contrition.

“It is now 10 years since Fergal Lynch committed those offences and he has paid a price for his mistakes. While the passage of time in its own right does not impact on such a decision, the manner in which Lynch has conducted himself in that period is important. Lynch has satisfied us during the course of his application that he has successfully reformed his character and that subject to the agreed conditions, he should be allowed the opportunity to race ride in Britain once again.

“BHA has shown in recent years that those who seek to undermine the integrity of the sport will be dealt with severely through the disciplinary process. This case is a matter of assessing Lynch’s personal qualities, and recognising but not seeking to further punish previous behaviour. That assessment has led us to the conclusion that it is now fair and reasonable to permit Lynch to ride in Britain.”

Notes to Editors

1. If Lynch decides he would like to ride predominantly in Great Britain, he would be required to submit an application for a Jockey’s licence with BHA. Lynch has agreed that no such application would be made before one year, or following the review of his being granted permission to ride in Britain.

2. Whilst Lynch’s current restriction has been lifted, this is without prejudice to the determination of any future application he may make with the BHA, and that any application submitted would be considered on its merits, within the framework set out for Jockeys’ Licences in the Guidance Notes.

3. Timeline:

In July 2009, following a plea-bargain from Lynch, the Disciplinary Panel imposed upon him a fine of £50,000 and directed that he should not apply for a licence to ride in Britain, or attempt to ride in Britain on an international licence, for 12 months.

Full details of the decision and reasons of the Disciplinary Panel can be found here: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/resource-centre/disciplinary-results/disciplinaryappeal-hearings/disciplinary/?result=535a3054b33ebfaa5320ec2f.

Prior to the Disciplinary Panel ruling Lynch had been riding in the United States, but following the Panel’s finding the licensing authority at the Philadelphia Park track where he had been riding decided it would not approve him as a jockey unless he obtained a British licence.

In October 2010 Lynch made an application for a Jockey’s licence in Great Britain. A Licensing Committee hearing was held on 28 February 2011 to consider the matter and the Licensing Committee rejected the application. The full reasons of the Committee can be found here: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Fergal-Lynch-9-March-2011.pdf.

In Spring 2011 Lynch was granted a licence to ride in Spain.

In May 2011 the Irish Turf Club then granted Lynch permission to ride a horse at Killarney on his Spanish licence.

Between September and November 2011 Lynch also rode in France and Germany on his Spanish licence.

In November 2011 Lynch moved back to the United Kingdom and began to ride more regularly in Ireland, still on his Spanish licence.

In March 2012 Lynch applied for a Jockey’s licence in Ireland and in April 2012 this application was accepted with the condition that he could only ride in Ireland and Spain for a probationary period. Permission was subsequently given by France in October 2012.

In May 2012 Lynch moved to Ireland to take up a role as stable jockey for David Marnane.

On 12 December 2012 the Irish Turf Club granted Lynch a full Jockey’s licence which lifted all restrictions on where he was able to ride.

In January 2013 Lynch was granted a licence to ride in the United Arab Emirates.

Although licensed elsewhere, Lynch has until now been prevented from riding in races held under BHA Rules of Racing in accordance with Rule (A)65.