By Iqbal Johal
Horseracing in France is set to resume from 11 May under strict conditions, according to the sport’s governing bodies in the country.
Racing in the country has been suspended since 17 March because of the coronavirus outbreak.
But according to the flat and steeplechase racing governing body, France Galop, the sport "could" return in early May, but behind closed doors and under strictly supervised sanitary conditions.
The date is significant because of Government plans to begin loosening lockdown restrictions on 11 May. As such, France Galop, along with harness racing body Le Trot, said any horseracing return comes down to measures taken by the Government.
The strict conditions for the sport’s return would see each horse accompanied by only their groom, trainer and jockey.
France Galop pointed to the fact racing was conducted successfully behind closed doors prior to the suspension in March.
There will also be restricted access for race meeting staff, including the tight monitoring of racecourses, personnel provided with protective equipment and social distancing measures in place.
Jockeys who hold a license issued outside France will not be allowed to participate in French races until at least the end of May.
While operator PMU’s retail network will only be partially restored by 11 May, which would affect the racing industry, talks between racing governing bodies and Government ministers to overcome associated financial damage have proved constructive.