PJA criticise Egan decision
PJA chief executive Paul Struthers has criticised the BHA after confirming jockey Darren Egan is the subject of an investigation.
The apprentice has not ridden in public for more than six weeks after the BHA refused to consider his application for a new licence following a switch of employers pending its investigation.
Jockeys are usually permitted to ride, even if being investigated for alleged corruption offences, until the BHA's inquiries are complete, although the rules do not permit granting a licence to anyone who is currently the subject of security department inquiries.
Struthers spoke of his displeasure at the decision to currently prevent Egan from riding. He said: "Back in August, Darren sought to move employer and as would be usual when an apprentice or conditional is looking to move, the BHA wished to speak to both parties to establish the facts before allowing the move.
"This delay would normally be a couple of weeks but it was over three weeks before the BHA even agreed to interview Mr Egan about the reasons for his move. At this interview, Darren was issued with a Telephone Production Order and told he would need to be interviewed separately as part of an investigation. He was specifically told that this interview might not take place for a number of months.
"The BHA investigator's report into the circumstances surrounding Darren's new application was submitted on Monday September 23, but it wasn't until 4.40pm on the Friday that the BHA informed Darren that they would not consider licensing him until his telephone records had been received - he'd been given 21 days to produce those records at the interview nine days earlier - and he'd been interviewed.
"We immediately complained to the BHA though again had to wait until the middle of the following week for a response. We formally responded last Friday and again only received their response (on Thursday), when they became aware that a media story - unprompted by us - was pending.
"Although the BHA has at least subsequently conceded that they will interview him 'within days' of receiving his phone records, as is often the case, Darren's records aren't arriving as quickly as he was promised them by his mobile phone provider. He has however already provided those records in electronic format to the BHA.
"We take little comfort from the BHA now saying he will be interviewed within days, particularly given the numerous delays that have already occurred, and in circumstances when Darren has supplied electronic records and has yet to be informed of the nature of the investigation. There is no reason to delay interviewing pending arrival of a set of paper records from his mobile telephone provider.
"As we said in our letter to the BHA which we sent last Friday, we entirely support a robust approach to integrity but it must be fair and no regulator should abuse the powers bestowed upon it, and act as investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner - as the BHA is danger of appearing to do, however temporarily - in this case. The BHA is better than that.
"They have already deprived Darren of the chance to earn a living for seven weeks and the inexcusable delays have caused the matter to get into the public domain. We warned the BHA about this and the damage this would cause to Darren's reputation.
"The damage is now done, although we hope his willingness to take the unprecedented step of confirming the investigation and allowing us to disclose the letter we sent on his behalf will go some way to repairing it."
BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "It is BHA policy not to comment on investigations or speculation surrounding potential investigations."