Joint statement on behalf of the BHA and jockey Oisin Murphy

16 Dec 2021 BHA Features

Having been made aware of a possible breach by Oisin Murphy of coronavirus protocols relating to travel in September 2020, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) conducted a detailed investigation. Following the conclusion of this process, the BHA issued the following alleged charges:

  • Breaches of Rule (J)24.6 of the Rules of Racing for misleading or attempting to mislead the BHA regarding his true location between 9 and 12 September 2020;
  • Breaches of Rules (J)24.4 and (J)24.6 for accessing the racecourse in breach of the COVID-19 Requirements;
  • Breaches of Rule (J)19 for acting in a manner prejudicial to the proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing.

A hearing in front of an independent Disciplinary Panel to consider these charges was arranged for Friday 10 December.

Prior to the hearing the BHA received submissions from Mr Murphy’s legal team regarding his welfare, which were supported by medical evidence, and stated that Mr Murphy had made a decision to relinquish his Flat Jockeys Licence whilst he engages fully with medical support.

Bearing these submissions in mind, it was agreed with Mr Murphy’s representatives that the proposed hearing would be postponed to take place at a later date, when it is deemed appropriate considering the welfare of Mr Murphy.

These matters will also be heard at the same time as two cases regarding positive tests for alcohol returned from racecourses in 2021 by Mr Murphy, as follows:

  • Breach of Rule (K)55 due to the presence of alcohol in urine sample exceeding permitted threshold at Chester racecourse on 5 May 2021:
  • Breach of Rule (K)55 due to presence of alcohol in breath samples exceeding permitted threshold at Newmarket on 8 October 2021.

Tim Naylor, BHA Director of Integrity and Regulation, said:

“In regulating the sport we must always strike the balance between the importance of upholding the rules, and being mindful of the wellbeing of those who we regulate. The welfare of our participants is an absolute priority.

“Having received detailed submissions from his representatives, which were supported by medical evidence, and being aware of the decision made by Mr Murphy to relinquish his jockeys licence, we agreed that the proposed disciplinary hearing may be postponed for a short period of time.

“The charges will be considered in front of an independent Disciplinary Panel we anticipate in the early part of 2022. We will support his medical team in the meantime.”

Mr Murphy has asked that the following statement be relayed on his behalf:

“On returning from abroad last September in 2020 I failed to follow the Covid protocol set out by the BHA. In breaking these rules, and attempting to mislead the BHA, I’ve let my governing body down, along with trainers, owners, staff, sponsors and family for which I wish to apologise.

“In addition to this there have been two racecourse incidents linked to alcohol during 2021.  It became obvious to me and to everyone else that I needed to seek serious help. In recognition of this I have relinquished my licence and will now focus on my rehabilitation. I am grateful to the BHA for agreeing to postpone the disciplinary hearing until I have been able to take these steps.

“Whether I deserve it or not, many kind people have stood by me and I really appreciate their support . I’m deeply embarrassed and regret my actions.”

The BHA and Mr Murphy will not make any further comment on this matter, which remains an ongoing disciplinary process, until a hearing date is set.

Notes to editors:

1. Details of relevant rules and penalties: