By Violeta Prockyte
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is set to have a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of opening racing tracks at the beginning of May after the urgency for renewed racing came from estimates showing a possible loss of £193 million in revenue if the ban lasts until July 1.
The current suspension on sporting events was placed in mid-March and is set to run until April 30.
BHA created Resumption of Racing Group to further their cause. The group is tasked with figuring out how to safely resume the racing events in the current situation. The government, however, shows no indications that they’re willing to stop the lockdown so soon.
One of BHA’s plans is to open a few racing tracks and keep them running for a limited time. The staff and sportsmen would be housed in on-site locations in order to uphold the quarantine rules.
The £193 million sum is 13% of the total annual revenue that comes from horse racing. The National Trainers Federation president Emma Lavelle stated, “It's big figures and, quite simply, the sooner we start racing then that's when we can start to generate revenue for everybody.”
No racing until July would mean that the sport would lose 25 festival days, 471 fixtures and cause a £55 million net cash impact. BHA believes this can result in “significant economic and social hardship" and even "threaten British racing’s pre-eminent position" globally, since Australia, Hong Kong and Japan are still running their races.
Currently, BHA hopes to receive financial aid from the government to offset the losses the industry is facing.