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Schedule – November 2015

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Dan Kelly’s FFP – Week 8

BHA’s past failings once again bite the current outfit on the arse


During an interview with Shane Anderson on RSN Racing & Sport’s Racing Ahead show, Paul Bittar commented on the easing of the restrictions against Fergal Lynch which now enables him to ride in the UK on an International licence; “Ultimately we felt that our position of excluding him from riding in Britain was becoming pretty hard to justify because he was pretty much able to ride everywhere else.”


Anyone reading the numerous blogs and comment piece in recent weeks would think that Fergal Lynch was disqualified when he was found in breach of Rule 157 for a stopping ride on Bond City at Ripon in August 2004. He wasn’t.


Even though the breach warranted a disqualification for considerably more than the 30 months entry point, a plea bargain was proposed.


10. It is in that context that it was necessary to examine the proposed plea bargain. The critical parts were that Lynch would pay a fine of £50,000 and that he would undertake not to apply for a UK licence for 12 months and not to ride in the UK for 12 months in reliance upon a foreign licence.


11. The Panel was prepared to approve this because the undertaking not to ride here for 12 months was the practical equivalent, so far as UK racing is concerned, of a suspension for that period. The BHA gave an undertaking, as part of the deal, not to “invite any other jurisdiction to impose any restriction on Lynch’s licence to race as a result of these proceedings” unless he fails to pay the fine. But it was made plain that the BHA was still obliged to inform other jurisdictions of the action taken in this case. The Panel’s obligation is to consider penalties proportionate to the breaches for the protection of racing in Britain. In the circumstances the undertaking not to race here for 12 months plus the £50,000 fine was an acceptable alternative to the ban which would have been imposed if Lynch still wanted to race here.


12. Accordingly the only penalty as such which is imposed on Lynch is a fine of £50,000, but it is imposed in the light of the information and undertakings contained in the plea bargain agreement between the BHA and Lynch dated 24 June 2009.


All in all, not a bad deal for a “stopper”:


  • A compensation package worth £90,000 from the BHA while he was suspended pending trial.
  • Found in breach of Rule 157 for a stopping ride – entry point 30 months disqualification
  • £50,000 fine and an understanding not to ride in the UK for a minimum period of 24 months.
  • BHA will not to invite other jurisdictions to suspend Lynch, but is obliged to pass on the information


Following the Disciplinary Panel’s enquiry, the then BHA spokesman Paul Struthers said during a Channel 4 interview “There is no doubt that because of everything that has happened, they have got off pretty lightly,”


Damn right they did Paul; as such it was no surprise that the identities of the BHA legal team were never revealed. Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-laa and Po were unavailable to comment.


But this weeks coverage has been laughable and definitely a case of NIMBY. Since 2011 he has ridden in Spain, Germany and France. He was granted a licence by the Irish Turf Club in April 2012 where Denis Egan spelt it out plain as day “In simple terms, he’s not banned or disqualified in England, he fulfilled our licensing criteria and was given a licence, albeit restricted for a period of time,”


“The licence is subject to review in a few months’ time. He was penalised [for his earlier offences in Britain] and served his ban. He has been riding here for six months using a Spanish licence, as we have had no issues with him in that time.


“If he misbehaves in Ireland, then the licence can be reviewed.”


He hasn’t misbehaved in Ireland, Dubai, France, Germany or Spain.


The deal negotiated by Lynch’s legal team has allowed him to ply his trade in other racing jurisdictions, in turn offering him a second chance within two years. So, if you have an issue with Lynch’s return then please send your enquiries to the Teletubbies, BHA Legal Department of June 2009 because Bittar is right, it was “becoming pretty hard to justify because he was pretty much able to ride everywhere else.”


Follow the author Dan Kelly on Twitter 

Read last weeks FFP here – Bittar has played a poor hand very well….

Photo / Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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