A significant advance in jockeys’ commercial rights will come into force on Wednesday 31st May, when BHB lifts its longstanding owners’ veto on jockeys’ sponsorship. In its place will be new arrangements that allow jockeys to negotiate with owners over their individual sponsorship agreements.
The owners’ veto has existed since 1999 as part of BHB’s Jockeys’ Sponsorship Code of Conduct, but the BHB Board reached agreement last year that it should be replaced by more modern practices that follow those that exist in other sports.
A wide range of parties, including the Jockeys Association of Great Britain (JAGB), the Racehorses Owners Association and the National Trainers Federation have been involved in drawing up the successor arrangements to the owners’ veto, which include, amongst other things, new software on the BHB-Weatherbys racing administration website, which allows trainers to check at-a-glance whether an individual jockey is sponsored. Background details on sponsors will also be provided, and the same information will be made available for those trainers booking jockeys over the phone.
BHB Marketing Director Chris John said: “The importance of sponsors within Racing should not be underestimated – these new arrangements are focused on creating a more commercial environment for jockeys to operate in. This move by BHB recognises both the value of sponsorship to jockeys and the value of jockeys in bringing sponsors into the sport. It also ensures that owners have an appropriate input into the process and retain the final say over any branding associated with their horses.”
JAGB Chief Executive John Blake added: “In our view, the lifting of this veto removes an obstacle that has discouraged sponsors from choosing Racing over other sports. Jockeys offer an excellent and unique opportunity to a wide range of sponsors, but currently less than a third of them have such agreements in place. This important development will allow our jockeys to close the sponsorship gap that exists with their peers in other professional sports.”