Finally some common sense has arrived in the whole Jock Paget doping scandal farce in the form of Andrew Nicholson. It’s what a lot of us have been thinking from the beginning and makes the FEI look incredibly incompetent, in that not one aspect of it has been handled well.
In a recent interview with TVNZ, Andrew Nicholson claimed to be ‘sick and tired of hearing about Jock and the doping scandal’.
Further on he is quoted as saying “He would have lost his titles anyway. Nothing against Jock but to me (the media) are on the wrong wavelength. It’s not a case of him of him handing it over now, seven or eight months later, it’s more a case of what good it is going to do the sport.”
As an onlooker and someone who loves the sport of eventing, I totally agree. The fact that we are seven months down the line with no resolution to this whole issue is insane. As far as I am concerned as soon as that second sample came through which was positive, the Burghley title was lost, even without the wrangling over culpability, because ultimately the horse had a banned substance in his system.
If you look at the Michael Whitaker case a few years ago where a stallion tested positive for Regumate – he was tested positive in May, supended till the case was heard in September and it was all done and dusted. This was plenty of time for both sides to put together a case and for second samples to come back. I appreciate there was no big title won, but the FEI has had its fair share of big competitions being won and positive tests coming back in showjumping and then dealing with the fall out. After all, it does not get much bigger than stripping an Olympic Champion of his title as in 2004.
There is more than just the integrity of the sport that has been compromised in this farce, there are also the people affected by prize money and FEI points who have missed out as well.
A date in June has been given for the tribunal, but for me that is five months too long and the title should have been stripped months ago as Jock Paget was never going to hold onto it.