Champion Flat jockey Oisin Murphy has handed in his licence while he focuses on rehabilitation.
The 26-year-old was set to face charges concerning his allegedly breaking Covid rules in September 2020, as well as two charges regarding positive alcohol tests in May and October 2021, before an independent disciplinary panel last week (10 December).
Ahead of the hearing, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) received submissions from Oisin’s legal team regarding his welfare, supported by medical evidence, and stated that he had decided to relinquish his Flat jockeys’ licence while he “engages fully with medical support”. Both sides agreed to postpone the hearing.
“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,” said Oisin.
“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 three-time champion jockey faces three allegations of rule breaches concerning coronavirus protocols relating to travel in September 2020. These are misleading or attempting to mislead the BHA regarding his true location between 9 and 12 September 2020, accessing the racecourse in breach of Covid-19 requirements and acting in a manner prejudicial to the proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing.
The matters were set to be heard at the same time as two allegations regarding positive tests for alcohol, from Chester on 5 May 2021 and Newmarket on 8 October 2021.
“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,” said Tim Naylor, BHA director of integrity and regulation.
“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 jockey’s 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.”
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