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BHA pledges support to Oisin Murphy following lengthy ban

The British Horseracing Authority offered its support to Oisin Murphy after he was banned for a total of 14 months at a hearing on Tuesday.

An independent judicial panel ruled the three-times champion jockey will be ineligible to reapply for his riding licence until February 16, 2023 and also imposed a fine of £31,111 after he admitted to misleading the British Horseracing Authority, contravening coronavirus protocols and acting in a manner prejudicial to the sport’s reputation.

Murphy was banned for 11 months for those charges, plus a total of 100 days for two alcohol breaches at a hearing in High Holborn.

While the BHA condemned Murphy’s actions, it also urged support for the rider who has sought help for alcohol issues.

A statement read: “We would like to thank the independent disciplinary panel for their careful consideration of the various complex and unique matters which were covered at this hearing.

“Mr Murphy’s breaches of the Rules were extremely serious, reckless and potentially incredibly damaging for the sport. They risked endangering his fellow jockeys and racing industry participants.

“The BHA is proud of the way the industry adapted to the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and how racing was able to restart quickly and successfully behind closed doors.

“Mr Murphy’s actions put this at risk. They also occurred at a time when so many people were making great sacrifices to follow the rules and protocols set out by the British Governments and the racing industry.

“Mr Murphy also acted with pre-meditation to deceive the racing industry and public regarding his whereabouts, as well as BHA investigators.

“In their summing up, the independent panel stated that Mr Murphy’s conduct was unworthy of a sportsman and previous champion, and he had let down his colleagues and the sport.

“We would, however, also acknowledge that Mr Murphy later made full, public admissions regarding these offences, and did not seek to contest the rule breaches at today’s hearing. He also gave full and frank admissions regarding his personal battles.

“All of these matters were considered by the independent panel in their decisions regarding a penalty for Mr Murphy.

“While it is important that this penalty is served and Mr Murphy’s offences are seen to be acted upon, we would also call on everyone in the sport to respect the admissions that he has made about his physical and mental wellbeing and his need for rehabilitation. The BHA will offer any support that Mr Murphy requests in this ongoing process.

“As with many elite sportspeople, the pressures on jockeys can be significant.

“We would urge anyone in the racing industry who has suffered from any of the issues outlined by Mr Murphy in the hearing, or who knows of anyone who is struggling, to contact the various support structures that are in place in British racing. These include Racing Welfare, representative bodies such as the PJA, NTF and NARS, the sport’s anonymous RaceWISE reporting line, or the BHA.”

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