47th Levy Scheme, Racing’s position
I am writing to the Racing community to set out the current situation with regard to the Levy Scheme for 2008/09, and our proposed next steps.
The 47th Scheme has now been referred for determination by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, James Purnell and Minister for Sport, Gerry Sutcliffe.
Racing believes this situation was entirely avoidable. The independent members of the Levy Board had put forward proposals for a rollover of current arrangements, together with a commitment to undertake a comprehensive review of the entire structure and process behind the Levy. Racing fully supported these proposals, but they were rejected by the Bookmakers’ Committee.
Issues relating to Turf TV remain at the heart of the bookmakers’ intransigence on the 47th Scheme. This is despite there being a clear consensus amongst all other parties that the Turf TV issue represents a commercial dispute between the betting industry and certain racecourses for picture rights and as such has no relevance to the Levy.
At every stage of the process Racing has been united in its views and has taken a constructive and reasonable approach to negotiations. We will now be focusing our energies on achieving the best possible outcome for Racing from the determination, and we will be submitting a substantive and robust case in support of Racing’s needs.
The Levy is in place to deliver a fair and reasonable return to Racing. That return to Racing should be much greater than it is at present, and that is the case that we will make throughout the determination process.
At the same time, the need for Levy modernisation, something Government committed to last December, is abundantly clear.
The British Horseracing Authority will be leading Racing’s response, and will keep its members and the wider industry informed of progress and developments in the coming weeks and months.
We remain committed to continue to working constructively with all key stakeholders including the betting industry, the Levy Board and DCMS as we seek a satisfactory conclusion to this issue and our longer term funding requirements.