• Review concludes that the approach adopted by racing is ‘a model for the effective investigation of corruption in sport’
• Review endorses sport’s regulator’s actions since 2003 and makes 16 new recommendations to ensure ‘continual evolution and development’
• Review confirms that, in relation to the City of London Police investigation and trial, the Authority ‘played no part in the decision to prosecute, in the preparation of the case or its presentation at court’
An Independent Review into Integrity in Horseracing has concluded that the British Horseracing Authority is ‘a model for the effective investigation of corruption in sport’.
That is one of the conclusions of the Review Team, led by Dame Elizabeth Neville, former Chief Constable of Wiltshire Constabulary and a non executive director of the Serious Fraud Office, after the Review was commissioned by the Authority in October 2007.
Dame Elizabeth was asked to undertake a review of racing’s security operations, processes and procedures, and progress since the major Security Review in 2003 carried out by Ben Gunn for the Jockey Club, which has since become part of the Authority. The Review was also asked to look into any lessons to be learnt by the sport’s governing body from the criminal trial last year. She was asked to assess the role and procedures that racing and sports governing bodies should adopt when dealing with matters that may involve breaches of law, as well as its own rules.
The Review concluded that the 2003 Joint Security Review had been a watershed for British horseracing, and the bulk of the recommendations have been implemented. The Review found that it was widely acknowledged that the work of what is now the Integrity Services and Licensing Department has had a significant impact and that there has been radical change since the 2003 review.
The Review makes 16 specific recommendations, including changes aimed at speeding up the investigation processes, making access to mobile phone records compulsory under Rule 241 where circumstances warrant it, strengthening the role of Licensing as the gateway to participation in the sport, and proposals to develop the prevention and deterrence strategy.
As part of its analysis of issues relating to the City of London Trial, the Review concluded that it had been right, in the circumstances, for allegations to have been referred to police. Thereafter, the review makes clear that the Regulator’s only role in the preparation and presentation of the case had been to provide witness information when requested. Dame Elizabeth found that the regulator played no part in the conduct of the investigation, the decision to prosecute or the preparation of the case.
The review highlights that future cases are likely to be dealt with through a new collaborative process, involving the sport’s governing body working alongside the City of London Police and the Gambling Commission.
The Review also concluded that the assumption should be that the Authority proceed with its own investigations and prosecute alleged breaches of the Rules, except where powers under the Rules are so inadequate that the evidence necessary to prove the charge cannot be obtained or where the conduct concerns substantial non-racing or non-betting matters of a serious criminal nature. A matter may also be referred where a Disciplinary Panel or Appeal Board recommends such a step at the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings.
Dame Elizabeth Neville said:
“The BHA has already firmly established itself as a regulatory body committed to protecting the integrity of horseracing. Much has been achieved since the 2003 Review and an appetite to continue to develop is very evident.
“An opportunity exists to forge a strong partnership with the newly established Gambling Commission which will strengthen further the fight against corruption in horseracing.”
BHA Chief Executive Nic Coward, in accepting the findings of the Review, said:
“It is reassuring to have Dame Elizabeth Neville confirm we are on the right tracks, but we do not under-estimate the seriousness of the potential attacks on the sport from betting related corruption. Protecting the integrity of horse racing remains a big priority.
“The review was established essentially as an audit of the work done since 2003, and an independent health check on current procedures. It’s a really thorough report, and we are now looking at how to put into practice all of the improvements she recommends.
“There are important lessons to be learnt about how the sport should deal with complex cases which raise issues under the general law, as well under the Rules. I am pleased that the review has cleared up the very limited role the Regulator had leading up to and during the City of London Trial. Most importantly, it sets out a framework for us to use going forward.”
Paul Scotney, Director of Integrity Services and Licensing, said:
“It is certainly encouraging that several external bodies have said that they believe the job we do for racing is a model for the effective investigation of corruption in sport. A range of sports governing bodies, including tennis, football and Olympics are all looking to see what they can learn from racing’s response to the challenges of corruption.
“We are already progressing some of recommended changes, such as making licensing much more part of the overall regulatory process, and working more closely with our Legal Department on case management. Security at the racecourse is a vitally important issue. A state-of-the-art access control system has been trialled at Kempton, with a view to a nationwide roll-out over the next year to 18 months.”
An Executive Summary and Recommendations can be found here.
15th May 2008
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. Attached to this Press Release is the Executive Summary, Summary of Recommendations and City of London Trial: Key Lessons.
2. The Review Team was led by Dame Elizabeth Neville and was supported by Michael Page QPM and Matthew Burbeck. Legal advice was provided by Mark Gay and Catherine Beloff of DLA Piper.
3. Rule 241 deals specifically with the requirement on licensed individuals to provide records and the giving of information. The full rule can be found by clicking here.