THE thoroughbred industry has moved to outlaw double-dealing and bribery, with the threat of criminal as well as regulatory repercussions for “serious malpractice”.
The new bloodstock industry code of practice came into force in Britain and Ireland on 16 August, replacing previous codes that had been in place since 2009 and 2010.
Its aims are to “prevent serious malpractice in the bloodstock sales industry”, including banning bribery – whether described as “luck money” or not. It also bans acting for both sides on a sale, without prior informed consent, and collusive “bidding up”.
“Such practices have no place in the bloodstock industry,” states the new code.
The move follows a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) review of the buying and selling of bloodstock and racehorses in British racing, released in December 2019, and the new code is centred on the key recommendations in that report.
BHA chief executive Julie Harrington confirmed the code will be incorporated into the BHA’s Rules of Racing.
“[The code] represents a significant step forwards in terms of enhancing trust in the process of buying and selling bloodstock in Britain and Ireland,” she said.
“It is essential if we are to attract and retain owners in the sport that anyone involved in the purchase of bloodstock can have confidence that they are being treated fairly, and the code will help further enhance British racing’s reputation on this front.”
Tattersalls marketing director Jimmy George, chair of the Bloodstock Industry Forum that was also formed following the BHA review, added: “Importantly, the new code of practice has introduced a complaints procedure independent of the industry bodies.
“Individuals found to be in breach of the code, either in criminal or civil proceedings or having been sanctioned by the BHA for breach of the code, will also be subject to exclusion from participating at Tattersalls and Goffs sales in Britain and Ireland.”
Mr George added: “We share a collective responsibility to preserve and enhance the global reputation for integrity which has always been central to the success of the British and Irish bloodstock industries. The new code sends out the very clear message that we will do everything in our power to maintain and increase confidence in an industry that is held in the highest esteem throughout the world.”
Federation of Bloodstock Agents chairman Oliver St Lawrence added that the association has also “tightened its membership requirements”.
“Together with a raft of other new measures, this upgraded code should protect principals with a significant tightening up of the definition of acceptable ethical behaviour by all participants in the buying and selling of bloodstock and fully clarifies the law in the UK and Ireland,” he said.
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