The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has committed to supporting the racing industry during the UK lockdown, after agreeing an ‘emergency financial plan to cut its costs to the industry by up to a million pounds a month’.
Under the plan, agreed by the BHA Board, nearly 80% of staff will be temporarily stood down from work using the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Meanwhile, the remaining staff are collaborating with racing bodies to try resume racing by 1 May, if possible.
All BHA staff and Board members will also face a reduction in salary, which will ‘apply equally to those working or not working’.
Commenting on the plans, BHA Chair Annamarie Phelps said “Our Board considered a range of options for how to maintain the most appropriate team that would allow us to carry out our role in the industry’s crisis response.
“That includes the urgent financial work we are doing alongside industry colleagues, engaging effectively with the government and making sure we have the right plan and the right resources in place to start racing again when we can. In particular, whilst the current suspension is to the end of April, we will ensure that racing is ready to resume from the 1st of May onwards, if it proves possible to do so.
“The Board (which includes appointed members from the racecourses, owners and licensed personnel alongside independent directors) was briefed on the impact of this crisis across the whole industry and took this into account in its decision-making. We were unanimous that the package of options agreed was the right way forward at this time.
“My message to all our staff is that I’m incredibly proud of the work you have been doing to support the industry. It will be a blow, I know, to those standing down from next week and unable to work. You want to be doing your best, as ever, for the sport you love. I hope you will look after yourself and your families and be ready to come back to work when that is possible. For those who will continue to work, I know you will keep giving all you can to get us through this crisis.”