Thursday, 9 June 2011

How many fuckups is Paul Roy entitled to?

I'm sick of this bullshit of the 'age of forgiveness'. Not that long ago, people had honour - when they laid their cards on the table and screwed up royally, they packed their bags and left. These days it's like the Aussie cricket team - harder to leave than it is to get in, no matter how shit you are at what you do. Ricky Ponting was allowed to lose the Ashes three times before being forced to walk the plank as captain. If you can bullshit with the best of them, you've got a job for life apparently.

BHA Chief Exec Paul Roy has made at least three absolute blunders whilst at the helm which should have sent him to the dole queue a long time ago. But it seems he is impossible to sack and won't walk because he has less class than a Premier League footballer with a superinjunction.

Blunder 1 - in his other role as big cheese of an investment firm, he recommended buying a big chunk of shares in Betfair.

The fact he didn't notice they were massively overvalued is bad enough but the conflict of interest with his role at the BHA was extraordinary considering he is always at loggerheads with the exchange and bookmakers. A politician wouldn't be allowed to get away with that, why did Roy escape the noose?

Blunder 2 - being part of the BHA team who publicly declared that the Sir Martin Broughton-led syndicate, SIP, was the best fit for racing and the only possible winner in the Tote bidding process.

No independence, no keeping at arm's length until the Govt had made their decision, just blurting out their allegiance with blatant disregard for process or fairness. Betfair had the sense to stop Andrew 'Bert' Black from answering media questions when he answered 'Ooh, that looks a bit dodgy doesn't it?' to allegations a race was fixed back in the early days - you'd think an organisation like the BHA would have some idea how to manage media and industry relations by now. And for someone so well connected in the financial world, you'd have thought he'd check the sums all added up. Sports Investment Partners was a bid from an ex-BHB chairman with senior executives coming from bookmaking backgrounds - apparently the very thing they wanted to avoid with Fred Done.

Blunder 3 - the daddy of them all. Once again, this muppet has wasted racing industry money on investigating whether winning Betfair users should be taxed/forced to pay levy.

Amazingly, the legal verdict from EVERY OTHER legal advisor bar his own was that they were wasting their time yet again. I can make a profit via William Hill, Ladbrokes, the Tote, BetFred (if they bothered to pay out) or any combination of firms in a variety of bets which form exactly the same function as laying on Betfair. A professional backer pays no levy to the industry, why should anyone else who does not stand on course, set their own payout terms and hold punters' money? This argument from the top of the racing industry has been tried again and again, there was absolutely no reason to think anything would change. No legal precedent elsewhere, no legislative change, no EU directive, nada. So the BHA has pissed another couple of million up the wall which should have gone to prizemoney, facilities, improved stewarding, better data such as sectional timing.... but instead it went to scratch this fool's ego. If it really was a board decision, then the rest of the incompetent fools should go to. WAKE UP, IT IS 2011, NOT 1962!!!

In Thursday's Racing Post, Roy defiantly says he has a job to do and will continue to do so. Meanwhile racing continues to flounder because the industry is being run like an old boys' club rather than an industry worth billions. Great leaders say 'the buck stops here', they hold their hand up and admit they screwed up, they fall on their sword when the blunder has been huge. They inspire the people around them to improve and put the cause far and above their personal vendettas and egos.... racing is in desperate need for a great leader.

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