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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Fallon devastated by British ban
Former champion jockey Kieren Fallon
Fallon can still ride in Ireland
Kieren Fallon says his career is "in ruins" after being banned from racing in Britain until his trial next year on a charge of conspiracy to defraud.

He will appeal against the decision by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority after a hearing with fellow jockeys Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams.

They will not be given their licences back until the end of the trial, which is not expected for at least 12 months.

"I am obviously devastated," said Fallon, who can still ride in Ireland.

"I always thought that a man was innocent until proved guilty.

Unless my suspension is lifted my career is in ruins

Kieren Fallon

"I cannot understand this decision as I am confident that I have done nothing wrong, and my lawyers are confident that the case against me has no validity whatsoever.

"In fact, I am utterly amazed the police were able to charge me based on the evidence I have seen and the questions that they have been asking me this year.

"My livelihood is dependent upon racing and I will be appealing against this decision as it is extremely harsh and inconsistent given the HRA panel's verdict on Alan Berry published earlier this week.

"I am grateful for the support I have received from many trainers and owners around the world.

"However, unless my suspension is lifted my career is in ruins as I cannot ask owners or trainers to support me elsewhere when I am prevented from riding in the UK."

Kieren Fallon arrives at Bishopsgate Police Staion on Monday
Fallon was charged at Bishopsgate Police Station on Monday

Fallon, Williams and Lynch were three of 11 people charged by the City Of London Police on Monday.

Trainer Alan Berry is the other individual licensed by the HRA to have been charged, but was allowed to continue to send out runners after Tuesday's hearing at the HRA.

The HRA's special panel decided a ban would be "disproportionate" for Berry as any trial is not likely to begin before the spring of 2007, though all three are due to make an initial court appearance on 17 July.

However, Friday's hearing, chaired by HRA board director Sir Michael Connell, found that Fallon, 41, should be prohibited from riding in Britain on his Irish licence "until the conclusion of the trial or further orders".

The panel added that he should not receive any compensation payments by the British Horseracing Board "since he remains able to ride abroad".

But it recommended the BRB pays compensation to Lynch and Williams, both 28, "at the relevant PRIS rate, until trial".

The panel's decision means six-time champion jockey Fallon will miss out on his ride in Saturday's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, where he was set to partner the Aidan O'Brien-trained Aussie Rules.

As far as we are concerned, Fallon is innocent until proven guilty

Denis Egan
Irish Turf Club chief executive

The panel acknowledged their decision would be "a very serious setback" for Fallon and cause him "significant financial damage", noting he "will most probably lose his retainer at Coolmore after the end of the season."

But they insisted that allowing the trio to continue riding, pending their trials, would cause "severe damage" to racing's reputation.

"In our view the damage would be very hard to repair and, as the Regulator, we are anxious to avoid that damage," it added.

Former racing syndicate director Miles Rodgers, Lynch's brother Shaun, farrier Steve O'Sullivan and Philip Sherkle, 39, are the other people charged with the same offences.

In addition, Rodgers, 37, Joanne Richardson, 27, Darren Armitage, 41, and Brian Pilkington, 70, have been charged over an offence relating to money laundering allegations.

All those charged by police have been bailed and are due to appear at a plea and direction hearing before the trial judge on 17 July. They deny any wrong-doing.

Fallon is licensed as a jockey in Ireland, and the Irish Turf Club has confirmed he will be able to continue riding there.

Irish Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said: "As far as we are concerned, Fallon is innocent until proven guilty."

The Jockeys' Association of Great Britain said: "We believe the example set by the Irish Turf Club in allowing Kieren Fallon to maintain his licence pending a conclusion to this matter is a sensible and fair approach.

"It would then be a matter for the employers in the sport as to whether they support such riders."

Former racing syndicate director Miles Rodgers arrives at Bishopsgate Police Station
Former racing syndicate director Miles Rodgers was also charged

City of London Police confirmed that 17 of the 28 people who answered bail on Monday have been released and are no longer involved in the case.

They include jockey Robert Winston, former rider Paul Bradley, amateur rider Dale Jewett and trainer Karl Burke.

The investigation, which began in September 2004, has examined allegations of conspiracy to defraud involving more than 80 races over two years.

During the investigation, more than 130 police officers raided 19 addresses across Suffolk, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Hertfordshire.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Wilmott of City of London Police said the investigation - the largest of its type undertaken by the force - had started when Betfair approached the Jockey Club.

He said: "In early 2004, Betfair, an internet betting exchange, brought to the attention of the Jockey Club a number of what they considered to be irregular betting patterns.

"The security department of the Jockey Club undertook an investigation and came to the conclusion that there was potential criminality that could undermine the integrity of horse racing."

He added that Monday's events had followed consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and a leading QC over whether charges should be brought.

During the investigation, 34 arrests were made, more than 500 interviews undertaken, at least 1,300 statements obtained, and almost 40,000 pages of evidence passed to the CPS.



SEE ALSO
Berry granted training go-ahead
04 Jul 06 |  Horse Racing
Fallon charged with conspiracy
07 Jul 06 |  Horse Racing
Jockey bailed in fixing inquiry
03 Mar 06 |  Horse Racing
Fallon's bail extended until July
27 Feb 06 |  Horse Racing


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