British Racing welcomes government timeline for return of sport

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF BRITISH HORSERACING’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Senior executives from British horseracing have welcomed the publication of a timeline for the potential resumption of sporting events by the UK government.

In its document, Our Plan to Rebuild, the government said it planned for sporting and cultural events to resume behind closed doors as part of the second step of lifting the current restrictions.

This will take place from Monday 1st June at the earliest. Until this time, it says, restrictions currently in place around such events will continue.
This date is subject to an assessment by public health officials of the risks posed by the virus at that time and is conditional on the fulfilment of the government’s five tests for easing lockdown measures.

Racing’s Executive Committee, which includes the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association, The Racehorse Owners’ Association and the National Trainers Federation, committed to plan for resumption on 1st June.

They agreed that a timeline setting out what racing would need to do to meet that date will be published within the next seven days.
The Resumption of Racing Group will meet later this week and ensure that race planning and the provisional fixture programme, including the scheduling of the Classics and other flagship races, meet the new government timeline.

Racing has already drawn up plans for resumption based on minimising risk for participants through robust social distancing and strict infection control measures. Discussions with Public Health England and Chief Medical Officers from sports including horseracing will also continue.

This has involved the development of new processes and protocols, which will require significant adjustments to ‘normal’ race-day practices. The sport will be focusing its efforts during the remainder of May on finalising and agreeing these changes across the industry and supporting everyone to understand and adopt them.

The document also says that reopening venues that attract large crowds, such as sports stadia, ‘may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections’ but it gives no specific timeline.

The UK Government says it is working with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales to coordinate the easing of lockdown restrictions where possible. The BHA’s Public Affairs team continues to liaise with politicians and officials in Scotland and Wales to progress resumption at the earliest opportunity.

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