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BSJA tries to quell expenses row

The British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) has vowed to prevent future expense abuses after members reacted furiously to revelations board members were paying themselves £400 a day, plus expenses (show jumping comment, 17 September).

A remuneration committee was set up by the executive board following an extraordinary general meeting on 8 September and will police all expenses claims, BSJA chief executive Di Cornish told H&H.

It comprises Ms Cornish, BSJA president Lis Astall, the chief executive of the Royal Yachting Association Rod Carr and BSJA member Michael Seals.

But instead of demanding refunds for any inappropriate claims, Ms Cornish told H&H the committee review will take place “not because they will find anything, rather to satisfy the membership”.

Some riders, such as Olympic show jumper Ben Maher, feel their BSJA fees are being used to fund excessive administration costs.

“I pay around £750 for each of my top horses’ membership and keep being told the BSJA needs to raise more money to fund the international section — I think some people are being paid too much,” said Ben.

H&H has learnt that two members of the BSJA executive claimed around £45,000 in fees and expenses — the equivalent of 381 full BSJA membership fees — between them during 2008/9.

Executives give 30 days unpaid to the association but can claim £400 a day after that, for work approved now by the remuneration committee but previously by the management committee.

BSJA chairman Michael Mac told H&H he claimed around £20,000 last year.

“My expenses are totally legitimate,” he said. “I told the executive board that I can’t do 100 days a year for free — but I do 30 days free. People are just trying to cause trouble.”

What do you think? Contact hhletters@ipcmedia.com with your view.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (19 November, ’09)

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