IMPORTANT: British Horseracing Brexit update: Planning for No Deal

02 Oct 19

***Sent on behalf of the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group***

The political situation regarding the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, currently scheduled for 31 October, remains unpredictable with a range of potential scenarios still possible, each with implications for the British thoroughbred industry.

Through the sport’s dedicated Brexit Steering Group, British racing has been preparing for all potential negotiation outcomes, including a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, for some time. Detailed guidance for participants has been available on the BHA website.

Now, with one month to go before the scheduled leaving date, the sport is taking further steps to make the industry and participants aware of the preparations required. The Brexit Steering Group strongly advises that all industry participants read this note and the guidance that is available, and start making plans for how a No Deal Brexit might affect them.

This is particularly important if you are planning to travel to the EU for business purposes, or if you are planning to transport horses to the EU, after 31 October. There are preparations which you should be making now in case the relevant regulations change significantly.

For example, if you are planning to move a horse on or after 1 November, you should consider arranging for the relevant blood tests to be taken in the 30 day period prior to the intended date of travel, which may be a requirement for movements to the EU if the UK is listed as a Third Country for animal health purposes.

It is feasible that clarity on the final outcome of the negotiations between the UK and EU will not be achieved until on, or very close to, 31 October. Further updates will be provided in the coming weeks as the situation develops and more guidance becomes available.

Possible scenarios

The principal scenarios which may emerge in the coming weeks, not ranked in any order of probability of outcome, are:

– The UK reaches a negotiated Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, under which the UK enters a transition period to December 2020 with existing rules largely remaining in place for that period.

– The UK leaves the EU with no negotiated Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. ‘No Deal’) on 31 October, with the UK listed by the EU as a Third Country for Animal Health purposes, thus allowing movement of horses from the UK into the EU but with additional requirements.

– The UK leaves the EU with no negotiated Withdrawal Agreement on 31 October, with the UK not listed by the EU as a Third Country for Animal Health purposes, thus preventing movement of horses from the UK into the EU. (Please note that the UK was previously listed by the EU ahead of the previous scheduled withdrawal date of 12 April, however a new listing must be granted for a 31 October withdrawal).

– Article 50 is extended for a further period, meaning that the UK remains a member of the EU.

How British Racing might be affected by a No Deal Brexit

The principal areas of focus for the Steering Group in the short term have included:

– The rights of EU and European Economic Area workers in British racing and breeding to apply for Settled Status in the UK beyond Brexit, and temporary visa requirements for movement to sports events.

– Thoroughbred movement to and from the EU, including former Tripartite Agreement countries.

– Recognition of the General Stud Book by the EU, and potential implications for entry into races in EU countries if not provided.

– Transportation requirements and permits for movement of horses and equipment to and from the EU.

– The application of tariffs to sales of geldings.

– Other matters that have also been considered include the application of VAT, provision of veterinary medicines and data sharing between regulators.

Overall Guidance

There are a number of places where you can find guidance on how you might be affected by a No Deal Brexit, and how to prepare. They are as follows:

– Detailed guidance is available on the dedicated Brexit page of the BHA website.
– The Government’s overarching Get Ready for Brexit page.
– The Government recently issued specific guidance on the movement of equines in a no deal scenario.

To supplement this detailed guidance, the Brexit Steering Group has prepared infographics which provide a step-by-step guide to the main preparations which participants should undertake for a No Deal Brexit in four areas:

  1. Equine Health Requirements if you move horses to or from the EU
  2. Transport requirements if you move horses to or from the EU
  3. Customs, VAT and Tariffs if you move horses to or from the EU
  4. EU Nationals in the UK: Information for employees and employers 

We will contact you via email in the coming weeks with summaries of further significant policy updates and guidance. In the meantime we encourage you to regularly check the BHA web pages or other areas of guidance to keep updated.

Please note that this advice is based on the best available information which we have been able to secure through close working with the British government and the European Commission up until this point. In a situation where future arrangements are impossible to predict, we remind all participants in racing that it is their responsibility to check the latest information before they make plans to move horses in or out of the EU.


Should you have any questions regarding how you might be affected by a No Deal Brexit, or preparations which you should undertake, a dedicated email address has been established. Please send your queries to [email protected] and we hope to provide a response within three working days.