Racing welcomes new roadmap for removing restrictions

23 February 2021

In regards to the Government’s announcement of a roadmap for cautiously easing COVID restrictions, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) issued the following statement:

“On behalf of British racing and all those who work in our industry, we very much welcome the government’s announcement today of a roadmap for the removal of the current COVID restrictions.

“The whole sport has worked hard to abide by our race-day protocols to allow racing to continue behind closed doors and support the many livelihoods that depend on our industry. British racing’s classification as an elite sport made this possible. But we do miss owners and we do miss spectators whose presence at meetings contributes so much to the thrill of our sport.

“We have already introduced additional measures to reduce the risks of transmission of the virus and have further options under consideration. We will now engage with government to highlight our ability to move beyond the current limitation on essential staff only as soon as that is possible and allow the return of owners.

“Racing continues to benefit from the incredible loyalty shown by owners. We will clarify as soon as possible when they can return to race-meetings, and when amateurs can resume riding.

“The government has also published details today on the potential timings for the return of spectators to elite sport.  We have further discussions with officials scheduled which will enable us to draw up specific proposals for race meetings, including potential pilot events. We also expect to hear further details of the plans for Scotland and Wales which are not covered by today’s announcement.

“Whilst the publication of dates is a very positive sign, the absence of spectators from our big events is continuing to put a strain on racing’s revenues. This has been exacerbated by the closure of betting shops. Our financial discussions with government are ongoing.”