Following a meeting of the British Horseracing Authority Board on 10th December, the Authority made the following statement.
Nic Coward, Chief Executive, said:
“Nothing has changed the resolve of the British Horseracing Authority to preserve the highest levels of integrity in the sport. This remains a priority. British Horseracing has led the way in tackling issues associated with the modern betting environment. We will continue to do so.
“Racing has built a strong track record in recent years, particularly through the work of the Regulatory Committee and Security Department. This has been recognised by other major sports, regulators and Government. This role for Racing has been carried out by Paul Scotney and the Department he has led throughout this time, and which the Board has tasked him with building on in the future.
“In October, the Authority asked Dame Elizabeth Neville, former Chief Constable of Wiltshire, and a director of the Serious Fraud Office, to review our security operations, processes and procedures, and the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the joint security review of 2003. The review will take into account any issues raised by the trial. Dame Elizabeth will report directly with her findings to me and the Board.
“Dame Elizabeth’s review will also 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. With the Gambling Commission and the Gambling Act 2005 – with the new offence of cheating connected with betting in Section 42 – now in full operation, all sports must be satisfied that they have the right procedures in place regarding their interactions with external organisations, including the police. These are complex issues, requiring detailed examination.
“The Board will take time to consider carefully all of the circumstances arising out of the criminal trial and Dame Elizabeth’s report.
“The betting public and all followers of our sport rightly demand that British Horseracing regulates itself to the highest standards. That is why the Authority will be reviewing all the available evidence relating to the court case to consider whether there were any breaches of the Rules of Racing.
“There has been speculation as to whether the Authority ever contributed or offered to contribute funding towards the cost of the City of London Police investigation. The Board reiterates that no funding was promised. The question of funding towards police costs was raised by the former Commissioner of the City of London Police with our director Ben Gunn, who advised that a request would have to be made formally to the Board. I confirm that we received a formal request in late August 2007 from the Assistant Commissioner of the City of London Police to contribute to the costs of the investigation which the Authority declined.”
The British Horseracing Authority was established in July of this year as the governing and regulatory body for Racing. Prior to this the regulatory body for racing was The Jockey Club /Horseracing Regulatory Authority of which Ben Gunn was non-executive Director with special responsibility for integrity matters, a position which he continues to hold.
Mr Gunn said:
“Paul Scotney, acting for The Jockey Club, passed information to the City of London Police in March 2004. The information related to continued breaches of the Rules of Racing by Miles Rodgers that gave us cause to suspect possible criminal activity. As we have said previously, Kieren Fallon was not the focus of this information.
“It is a matter of fact to say that once this information was passed to the police the preparation of the case was wholly in their hands. The Jockey Club/HRA provided information as and when requested. The investigation by the City of London Police was, in their words, the largest of its type ever undertaken and took more than two years before their case was handed to the CPS who took the decision to prosecute. The Authority was not party to the decision to prosecute and, properly, was not briefed on the evidence that formed the basis of the prosecution case.
“It has also been suggested that the then regulatory authority, the Jockey Club, approached two other police forces to take on the case before the City of London Police. This is not correct. On reviewing information obtained by the Security Department, I determined that it should be referred to the Commissioner of the City of London Police who held the national Association of Chief Police Officers’ portfolio for fraud investigation.
“The decision on expert witnesses called to give evidence is entirely a matter for the police, the CPS and prosecuting counsel. Neither the BHA nor our predecessor the Horseracing Regulatory Authority had any part in this decision.”
Tuesday 11th December 2007
Notes to editors
• The restrictions placed on the three jockeys involved in the proceedings expired with immediate effect when the court determined there was no case to answer. Kieren Fallon, who is licensed by the Irish Turf Club, is able to ride in Great Britain while Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams are able to re-apply to the BHA for their jockey’s licences.
• As from 1st September 2007, we have liaised closely with the Gambling Commission which now has powers to investigate corrupt betting activity (under the new offence of cheating in Section 42 of the Gambling Act) or, if appropriate, it can refer such cases to police. The establishment of the Gambling Commission’s powers and the new criminal offence of cheating are both changes for which horseracing’s regulator lobbied.