Sunday, October 21, 2007


Jeff Randell puts the sport under the microscope on Sunday night in his BBC Radio 5 Live program Weekend Business (8pm)

Racing Post Report by Howard Wright

BHA chairman Paul Roy will put racing's case for receiving more money from the betting industry, rather than the greatly reduced amount being offered next year, when journalist and presenter Jeff Randall puts the sport under the microscope on Sunday night in his BBC Radio 5 Live programme Weekend Business (8pm). Randall will examine various aspects affecting the financial health and future of British racing, including the emergence of TurfTV, the growth of betting-shop products such as FOBTs, returns to owners from prize-money and the sale of the Tote.

However, Roy said on Saturday that he was anxious to focus on the role of the BHA in racing generally and the need to improve the return from betting in particular. He said: “I want to talk about the importance of racing, how much it matters to a wide group of constituents and how it impacts several billions of pounds on the economy. “It has a breadth and variety that's unrivalled in the world, especially in terms of quality, and appeals to a broad spectrum of people, which is its unique attraction. “Racing is important for everybody, not just those who follow it or are engaged in it, but also the British bookmaking industry. “But the sport needs a higher level of funding than it's achieving at the moment.

It's a matter of growing the cake and deciding how best it should be sliced up.” Roy said the main points he wanted to get across on the programme were the short-term issue of reaching agreement through the statutory levysystem, and the longer-term challenge of funding. He added: “We want to bring the racing industry together with the bookmakers, but they have made a levy submission that is greatly at variance with ours and their capacity to pay. “The BHA was formed as part of a process of the industry and the government coming together to modernise both the way racing is run and the levy process.

“I want to reflect on that, because the issue is not just about the amount of money but also the process, which needs renovating. “I will say that in the longer term we need to look to a commercial alternative to the levy. It didn't work before, because of the European Court of Justice ruling, so there's no reason not to go back to it.”

Other contributors to the programme will include trainer John Gosden, Racing UK executive chairman Simon Bazalgette and Racing Post chief executive Alan Byrne. Although the programme compilers were hoping to involve representatives of the major bookmakers and the Tote, it is understood that none will be available.




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