The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has responded to Peterborough Greyhound Track’s concerns about the sport’s resumption.
Following news that the sport will be targeting a reboot date of 1 June, Richard and Rob Perkins released an open letter to GBGB stating that the track at Peterborough will not be able to begin trials until it receives government approval.
The Letter read: “Following the release of the Statement from the GBGB yesterday we have been seeking clarification from them as to when, and if, we are able to commence trials and, ultimately, racing.
“We must receive confirmation from the government that we are able to commence trials before we are able to go ahead. Without this confirmation we would be in breach of UK government Guidelines and our own business insurance cover amongst other things.
“Once confirmation has been received that we can undertake trials we must then consider the cost implications of a return to racing behind, what would be, closed doors. Without being able to open the stadium to the general public we would be reliant on the income from the sale of our broadcast rights to GMG/ARC/Arena Racing.
“As you are aware at this time the stadium receives broadcast income for the Wednesday evening fixture only, any further race meetings that take place behind closed doors generate no income but involve considerable expense.
“Currently we are therefore not planning any trials sessions at the stadium until we have received the above clarifications and commitment.”
British greyhound racing has been suspended since March 18, following a decision by the UK Government to introduce Phase 1 of national lockout procedures.
GBGB released a five-phase roadmap to restarting the sport earlier this month, which included measures to transition from holding trial meetings behind closed doors to returning to regular competition, subject to government guidelines on social distance and public gatherings.
GBGB Managing Director Mark Bird reiterated in response to the concerns that the GBGB is working with tracks to ensure that the sport can return safely and that its Operational Plan for COVID-19 is fully enforced.
He said: “We are clear as a regulator that trials constitute a ‘return to work’ in line with the latest government update. This is not conditional on written approval from the government or from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Tracks are, however, required to follow the GBGB COVID-19 Operational Policy.
“It is of course each track’s decision as to whether they choose to begin trials, whilst there remain government restrictions, on preparation for the return to racing behind closed doors from 1 June. We accept that racing under these terms may not be economically viable for some racecourses, especially if those tracks’ business modelling relies largely or wholly on spectator and/or restaurant footfall.
“We are of course working with racecourses that will be choosing to trial to ensure that they are ‘COVID-19 Secure’, according to the principles of our Operational Policy. This has been shared with all the relevant government departments and we remain confident, subject to any further changes, that trialling can start from 18 May, with racing following on from 1 June.”