Fergal Lynch video marks move to increase focus on integrity education

09 Jul 2015
  • Video to be presented in integrity seminars and posted online
  • Increased focus to be placed on education of industry participants around integrity matters
  • Fergal Lynch granted British professional Jockeys’ licence

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today published an integrity education video featuring jockey Fergal Lynch. The video is intended to be shown to participants in the sport, in particular those who are new to the industry, to highlight the risks and pitfalls of becoming involved in corrupt practices, from the viewpoint of someone who has experienced the impact it can have on their life and career.

In the video Lynch speaks candidly about his experiences of being caught up in horseracing corruption, the mistakes he made, what it cost him, the lessons he has learned and his advice to others who may find themselves in a similar situation. The video also features practical advice and guidance from Adam Brickell, the BHA’s Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk, on the steps participants can take to protect themselves against becoming involved in the corruption, and the help that is available.

The video can be viewed here:

The publication of the video marks the beginning of a move to place greater emphasis on education of participants around integrity matters. The BHA’s current programme of integrity education, and what can be done to improve its delivery in this area, will be a feature of the recently announced Integrity Review.

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

“The inspiration to produce this video came from our dealings with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) who carried out a similar exercise featuring Mervyn Westfield, who was banned from cricket for five years in 2012 for spot-fixing. The ECB told us that their video had proved an extremely effective tool for communicating to young players the risks of being involved in corruption and the terrible impact it could have on their lives and careers.

“We approached Fergal Lynch to help with the video owing to the high-profile nature of his story and the damage it caused. Fergal was a young jockey with the world at his feet but the mistakes he made derailed that career, caused him to leave the country and suffer a heavy financial penalty. He is well placed to tell young jockeys and trainers about the cost of being embroiled in betting corruption.

“As well as producing the video we have been impressed by Fergal’s desire to continue to be involved in educating young riders and we see him continuing to assist in this capacity as we look to improve our offering in the area of integrity education. The BHA does already have a programme of education but we feel that we can be more effective. For this reason our integrity education programmes will form an important part of our Integrity Review.”

Fergal Lynch said:

“I hope that this video will help the BHA to prevent young jockeys from making the same mistakes that I did. Filming the video wasn’t easy as I had to dredge up some memories from some very dark times for me. I just hope that those who watch the video will realise that getting involved with the wrong people just isn’t worth it, and that there are ways to get help – something that I was not aware of at the time.”

The BHA has also confirmed that today Fergal Lynch has been granted a British professional Flat Jockeys’ licence.

Nearly 12 months ago Lynch was granted permission to ride in Britain on a trial basis. The BHA is now satisfied that Lynch has met all of the requirements of the trial and has demonstrated that he is a suitable person to hold a Jockeys’ licence. This view was formed in communication with the Irish Turf Club with who Lynch has been licensed since March 2012.

Adam Brickell added:

“The decision was made last year that Fergal sufficiently understood and accepted the gravity of his offences, that he had paid the price for his mistakes and that he had successfully reformed his character, and as such he was permitted to ride in Britain once again on a trial basis.

“Nothing occurred within that trial period that changed our views and we are satisfied that he is now a suitable person to hold a licence.”

Fergal Lynch added:

“I’m delighted to be licensed again in Britain. It is only now, 11 years since the offences I committed, that I feel that I can finally close the book on that chapter of my life. I am aware of the mistakes of my past and the damage I caused to horseracing, but I am now looking forward to the future and riding full time here in Britain – in particular for Jim Goldie who has been very supportive – and helping the BHA as they look to educate young jockeys about the importance of integrity.”

Notes for Editors:

1. The video can be viewed on the BHA website, here: stage.britishhorseracing.com/resource-centre/integrity/

2. The ECB’s integrity education video featuring Mervyn Westfield can be found here: http://www.ecb.co.uk/ecb/anti-corruption

3. The announcement that Fergal Lynch had been permitted to ride again in Great Britain can be found here: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/fergal-lynch-granted-permission-ride-britain/

4. The Fergal Lynch video was produced by Oxfordshire based Post-Production and Media facility “The Hall”: http://www.the-hall.co.uk/

5. 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.

In August 2014 Lynch was granted permission to ride in Great Britain on his Irish licence on a trial basis.

In July 2015 Lynch is granted a full, professional Flat jockeys licence in Great Britain.