A four-person Independent Review has been commissioned by BHB to propose an enforceable and sustainable mechanism by which betting operators can contribute to the funding of British Racing in the future.
The Review has been instigated following the European Court of Justice Judgement on the BHB/William Hill case in November 2004. Its membership and terms of reference have the full support of Government, the Association of British Bookmakers and the Levy Board.
The Review Group will be chaired by Lord Donoughue and also includes Rodney Brack (Levy Board Chief Executive), Patrick Nixon (Bookmakers’ Committee Secretary) and David Zeffman (a Partner at legal firm Olswang). The Levy Board will provide the secretariat.
BHB Chairman Martin Broughton said:
“We decided to propose an Independent Review in the light of discussions last month with the Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, in which we raised the possibility of an extension of the Levy until an enforceable and sustainable alternative is in place.
“We understand Government’s desire to maintain its plans to abolish the Levy in 2006 but, if it becomes apparent that the most appropriate way forward is a deferral of the abolition, the Review will ensure that a revised timetable and future arrangements are identified.
“Equally, if the 2006 timetable is to be met, Government will wish to be satisfied that there is an enforceable and sustainable structure in place which provides long-term financial security to Racing.
“The Review needs to be conducted speedily so that a decision about the future of the Levy Board can be taken by no later than the second half of March 2005. This will also enable important planning and funding decisions to be taken on a timely basis for 2006, in particular relating to the Fixture List.”
Richard Caborn said: “The instigation of the Independent Review has my full support. The Racing and Betting Industries should continue to plan for deciding future financial arrangements between themselves and the outcome of the next two months will assist in deciding on the best solution for all parties.”
Lord Donoughue commented: “I am very happy to have been asked to chair this Review, which has an important role to play at a challenging time for horseracing. I look forward to working with my colleagues and with the Racing and Betting Industries in reaching consensus on a practicable path forward.”
Independent Review : Terms of Reference
“In the light of the ECJ judgement relating to the BHB/William Hill case, and after full consultation with both the Racing and Betting Industries, to make a report to the BHB Board, the Bookmakers’ Committee and the Levy Board,:
(a) recommending a sustainable and enforceable mechanism, compatible with, inter alia, European and domestic competition law, by which those domestic and overseas betting operators using the British Racing product can be required to contribute appropriately to the funding of Racing, including its effective regulation and corporate governance and the support currently given by the Levy Board to veterinary science and education and the improvement of breeds;
(b) confirming that such a mechanism can be put in place in time to allow the Levy Board to be abolished, as currently planned by the Government, or, if no such confirmation can be given, setting out the reasons therefor and recommending the precise nature of the time-limited action which the Government should then be invited to take pending its removal from involvement with the funding of Racing.
with a view to the three parties concerned presenting, by no later than 11 March 2005, a recommendation to DCMS which has the full support of all those parties.”