BHA formulating plans for assistance

The British Horseracing Authority is formulating a plan for financial assistance to participants with the closure of racing.

BHA chief executive Nick Rust has promised the sport “will not be beaten” by the shutdown which has been instituted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rust’s reassurance came in a BHA progress report on the response of a racing industry steering group to the crisis which has forced the government into urgent measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and resulted in the cancellation of thousands sports and entertainment events around the world.

Racing will continue without spectators in some jurisdictions including Ireland, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

The BHA update placed financial assistance for those facing hardship at the top of racing’s urgent priorities – and added a plan is already being formulated for an eventual resumption.

“There is a determination that racing will not be beaten by this shutdown,” Rust said.

“The willingness to help is universal. We will do all we can to keep people informed as we progress.”

A BHA statement said it was concentrating on the medical and financial implications for those in the industry.

Top of the agenda is to “work on an assessment of immediate needs and identify the funding available from government and industry sources as a priority”, the statement said.

The intention is to apply for government assistance on behalf of those in most pressing need – including jockeys no longer able to earn their freelance salaries but also trainers, breeders and the courses themselves while racing is off.

“As well as the immediate response to the shutdown, (the steering group) is coordinating teams and resources to focus on the problems and issues the industry needs to address and resolve,” the BHA said.

“It is already developing a resumption plan to enable racing to get up and running when that becomes possible.”

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