The British Horseracing Board (BHB) has announced its initial response to the Rule 14 Notice issued today by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as part of its investigation into British Racing.
BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said:
“Today’s Notice from the OFT has been delayed several times and created a severe and unwelcome level of uncertainty in the racing industry. The OFT investigation started nearly three years ago, so we are pleased that its initial views are at last out in the open for all to see.
“The Notice does not represent the conclusion of the OFT’s investigation or prescribe any action, but merely sets out the matters to which racing must give consideration. In the coming weeks BHB will carefully assess the Notice, consult across the industry and produce a comprehensive and robust response.
“However, we are disappointed that the summary of the Notice suggests that the OFT has fundamentally misunderstood how and why British Racing operates as it does. BHB, as the governing authority, has a crucial role to play in safeguarding the sport’s integrity, representing and balancing the interests of its stakeholders and delivering British Racing. This is not recognised in the summary of the Rule 14 Notice.
“BHB remains confident that, as a major British sport, thoroughbred racing complies with all competition rules. There is strong competition within British Racing and it operates within a dynamic and competitive sports and leisure market, both in Britain and internationally.”
Since BHB’s establishment in 1993, betting turnover and prize money have grown in value to record levels, while the numbers of fixtures, races, horses, owners, runners and racegoers have all increased. Five and a half million people went horseracing last year – the highest figure for over four decades.
“British Racing has enjoyed major growth in recent years. The industry has achieved this success by working together to produce a world class product that consumers in increasing numbers want to watch and bet on. Any changes to British Racing must build on the progress that has been made and not dismantle the foundations on which that success has been built.”