Historic moment for British Horseracing as Members’ Agreement is signed

05 Nov 2015 Financial/Political
  • Members’ Agreement enacts new tripartite structure for governance of British Horseracing
  • Agreement defines which decisions can be taken autonomously by BHA, which require consultation and which require tripartite approval
  • British Racing now formally structured to act in unified manner for the good of the industry

Members Agreement Logos JPG

In a landmark moment in the history of British Horseracing, the Members’ Agreement, which implements a new, tripartite governance structure for the sport, has today been signed by the industry’s major stakeholders.

The signing of the document means that the sport is able to act in a unified manner, with the major stakeholders making strategic decisions for the long-term benefit of the industry by acting as a united body, enshrined in a formal Agreement.

The signatories to the document gathered at a press conference at the headquarters of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) today to mark the historic agreement, attended by representatives of the Racing industry and media.

The signatories to the document are:

  • British Horseracing Authority (BHA)
  • Racecourse Association (RCA)
  • Racehorse Owners Association (ROA)
  • Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA)
  • National Trainers Federation (NTF), also representing the ‘Licensed personnel’ –  Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and National Association of Stable Staff (NASS)

Steve Harman, Chairman of the BHA, said:

“This is a landmark moment for the sport and the industry. We now move forward from a position of strength as a sport and industry which is united.

“When I arrived in this role there were some who felt that Racing is factional and fragmented, but that is not what I have found. The humility, common sense of purpose and desire to get things done is noticeable in most of Racing’s leaders.

“A proof of this togetherness is visible in the work achieved to date – the progress on the Racing Right; the implementation of a Strategy for Growth; the drive to integrate a staffing and welfare agenda; and today with the signing of this historic accord, which the industry requires in order to cement this spirit of togetherness into our formal structures.”

The Members’ Agreement enacts a change of the BHA’s articles as to how the regulatory and governing body operates and make decisions. This means that there will now be three methods of decision making for the BHA:

  1. Decisions which can be made autonomously
  2. Decisions which can only be made after consultation has taken place
  3. Tripartite decisions (which fall into two categories, Category A decisions can be made by a 2:1 majority, Category B decisions must be unanimous)

These decisions will be made via a tripartite Committee structure, involving a Members’ Committee meeting quarterly with a responsibility for taking high-level strategic decisions, and an Executive Committee meeting monthly with a responsibility for taking executive decisions and implementing the strategy.

Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:

“The Members’ Agreement is the essential next step of the evolution within the sport and what is a major industry, which supports 85,000 jobs and generates an economic impact of £3.45bn.

“British Racing is a sport and industry at a crossroads. We need to act to insulate the sport from the risk of decline and to position ourselves for growth. If we are to do this then we need to be able to make strategic decisions as a unified industry.

“The Agreement gets our key stakeholders round the table to make those big decisions, in the best interests of the sport. It makes us greater than the sum of our parts and represents the industry formally coming together in a manner which it rarely has in the past.

“This development will bring significant benefits to our industry’s customers and participants, including a greater say in the way the industry is run, increased simplicity, transparency, accountability, streamlined decision making processes and better long term prospects if the structure helps deliver growth.”

Philip Freedman, Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, said:

“This marks another step on the road which began over twenty years ago when the Jockey Club created the British Horseracing Board, prior to the foundation of the BHA in 2007.

“We now have a modern, governance structure which is fit for purpose. The process will be complete when the Racing Right gives a Racing Authority the financial independence which racing has now shown it is capable of taking responsibility for, and acting in the interests of all those who have a stake in it.”

Maggie Carver, Chairman of the RCA, said:

“The RCA is pleased that we have been able to conclude, with BHA and our fellow BHA members, the Members Agreement. We believe that it will benefit all parties to the agreement, our members and the sport as a whole through better communication and decision making. We are committed to working with our partners to ensure that it does”.

Notes to Editors

1. Examples of the sorts of decisions which can be taken under the three different strands of decision making process can be found here.

2. If agreement isn’t reached on a ‘Category A’ tripartite decision between the BHA and Horsemen/Racecourse representatives, the BHA must go through the process of returning to the Members’ Committee to explain any proposed decisions and seeking a resolution before taking any further action.

3. The Members’ Committee and Executive Committee are made up as follows:

Members’ Committee
Meeting quarterly, with a responsibility for taking high-level strategic decisions.
The Members’ Committee comprises of:

  • BHA Chairman
  • Three Racecourse representatives
  • ROA, TBA and Licensed Personnel representatives

Plus non-voting observers

Executive Committee
Meeting monthly, with a responsibility for taking executive decisions.
The Executive Committee’s members are:

  • BHA Chief Executive
  • 1 x Racecourse representative
  • 1 x Horsemen representative

Plus non-voting observers

4. The Members’ Agreement is scheduled to run for an interim period until March 2017 to trial the workings, and indefinitely thereafter. If, at any time after 31 December 2016, any party wishes to terminate the agreement there would be a three-month notice period.

5. The Members’ Agreement is a private and confidential agreement between the shareholders and cannot be published in full