British racing could face £193m set back due to COVID-19 suspension

British racing has predicted that it could face revenue losses of £193 million if the sport is shut down until July, a letter from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has revealed.

As reported in the Racing Post, a letter from the BHA to trainers confirmed that the sporting authority has sought assistance as part of an “industry-wide lobbying effort that is aiming to gain political backing for the financial support package”.

The predicted loss accounts for approximately 13% of the sport’s annual revenue, and could result in ‘significant economic and social hardship’ for the sport.

The BHA confirmed the cancellation of racing fixtures in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the closure expected to last until the end of April.

With suggestions that racing could be suspended until the end of June, in that time 471 fixtures will have been cancelled, 25 days of which are festivals.

Emma Lavelle, president of the National Trainers Federation, said: “It’s big figures and, quite simply, the sooner we start racing then that’s when we can start to generate revenue for everybody.

“It’s going to have to be clear from the government what is acceptable. That’s the key thing, but that’s only going to happen when the situation with coronavirus is on a better footing than it is at the moment.

“It’ll be massive that we will come together. All of us want to get going, as and when it is safe to do so. What’s happened is tough on racecourses, trainers, owners, stable staff and the country as a whole – we’re in this together. We need to be ready to go so that we can put something positive on when we can.

“We should be approaching the councils to make sure we put in and ask for all the benefits that are out there for us. There’s a lot happening and I think we have to be measured to what we’re asking for, so we make sure we put our case across but that we are keeping in mind the bigger picture.

“We want to preserve the sport for all of our members, whether they’re big, middle-sized or small. There’s the horses too, we need to remember that the welfare of horses are paramount and that the finances are there to do that.”

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