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|2011 Racing Fixtures delayed
Racings governing body
today announced the sport has been forced to delay the publication of its 2011
fixture list due to uncertainty about the income it receives from the Horserace
Betting Levy, which has suffered dramatic declines recently.
- British Horseracing
Authority (BHA) delays publication of 2011 fixture list
- Racing industry holds
bookies and exchanges ultimately responsible for delay
- Racing calls for decisive
action after significant Horseracing Betting Levy drop
Representatives from across racing are united in
their view that bookmakers and betting exchanges are ultimately responsible for
the delay, as a result of the majority accessing loopholes to avoid providing
fair funding to the sport via the Levy.
The fixture list is
traditionally completed each year by mid July. The delay in the publication
means jockeys, trainers, racecourses, stable staff, farriers and others
directly involved in racing groups are unable to plan for 2011. In addition to
the 20,000 full-time workers in the sport, the impact of todays
announcement will also be felt by the 80,000 people who work indirectly within
racing, through industries including catering and hospitality.
decision by the British Horesracing Authority to delay publication comes after
a substantial drop in the 2010 Levy return and an uncertain 2011 position.
Despite the betting industry posting bumper profits in recent years, the amount
contributed to the Levy has gone into freefall. In 2009, the yield from the
Horseracing Betting Levy shrank by more than 20 per cent, from £115.3
million to £91.6 million. It has been reported that the 2010 Levy has
dropped even further to £76.5 million, a further fall of 17 per cent.
This would mean the Levy has dropped by more than a third in the last two years
alone as loopholes in the system are exploited, for example by bookmakers
moving and basing their online businesses offshore.
Chief Executive of the BHA, said
The BHA has been left with no
choice but to delay the publication of the 2011 fixture list in the face of the
current uncertainty about Levy income. This is massively frustrating,
particularly as in many ways the sports hard work to prepare for and beat
off the worst of the recession is going to plan. What we could not plan on was
the extent to which betting operators were going to take the Levy down through
exploiting loopholes. The Levy underpins the fixture list, tens of thousands of
people depend on it for their livelihoods and this year we are facing a
catastrophic cut in income from the Levy. It is not fair and not right that the
people working in racing should suffer as a result of the majority of the
betting industry looking to bypass the Levy in order to maximise their own
profits. It would be irresponsible for us to plan for 2011 when setting
fixtures now could ultimately result in racing being left out of pocket.
Decision makers should be in no doubt about what is happening and take urgent
Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the National
Trainers Federation, said:
This delay will make life increasingly
difficult for trainers. Prize money, a yards key income, has already
dropped significantly over the years, while at the same time the cost of
fielding a runner has gone up. If this carries on large numbers of trainers
will go out of business and stable staff will be laid off. Bookies need to wake
up to the increasing damage that this lack of funding is causing to the
grassroots of racing, and ensure they pay a more appropriate return to the
Paul Fisher, Chief Operating Officer of Jockey Club
Racecourses, which operates 14 leading racecourses in the UK and is scheduled
to host a quarter of the British racing calendar in 2010, said:
"Racecourses are businesses like any other, and it is important for us to
have certainty over fixtures and funding to plan our race days and events. We
make a major contribution to local jobs, tourism and growth and that is
important to communities in these difficult economic times. We have removed
more than £7 million in costs across our business for two years in
succession as a necessary response to difficult financial conditions. Anything
that delivers a further blow is something racing can ill-afford."
2009, the yield fell by over 20%, from £115.3m to £91.6m. It has
been widely reported that the 2010 levy is likely to drop further to
£76.5m in 2010 this is a further drop of 17%. The levy will have
dropped by more than a third in the last two years alone · Negotiations
are currently underway for the 50th Levy scheme. Racing has put forward a
reasoned case that this should be structured to deliver a yield to racing of
between £130m and £150m