After most sport in the UK was shut down over the coronavirus pandemic, greyhound racing punters had been bracing themselves for their sport to be hit next, and yesterday the sport’s governing body confirmed significant changes for the weeks ahead.
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has announced that the sport will be moving behind closed doors at all licensed tracks in England. This doesn’t currently apply in the case of Shawfield, as that venue is under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament.
The decision was apparently taken after discussions with experts in the veterinary field and stakeholders across the industry, and following advice given by Public Health England.
Speaking about the measure, the Managing Director at the GBGB, Mark Bird, said that their priority was the care and welfare of the greyhounds at the heart of the sport, and of the people who worked in greyhound racing throughout Britain:
“As a sport, we have therefore taken the collective decision to move all racing behind closed doors from today across our licensed stadia in England. We believe that this is the best way of the sport continuing to operate safely and successfully for the moment; minimising risk but maintaining the cashflow that is essential to everyone’s livelihoods and to the care of our greyhounds.”
The Board also announced that after this Saturday’s racing, there would be an end to open racing contests, on a temporary basis, in order to cut down on the travelling required between venues. He added that they would also be working with both promoters and track owners who would be most affected and would endeavour to ensure greyhounds could be entered in graded races in the interim.
In addition, the Board confirmed that they would be putting financial contingencies in place, to ensure that those working in the sport would continue to be supported, if all racing needed to be suspended.