BHA appoints new group to assess Levy reform

The BHA has called for urgent reform of the Levy.
The BHA has called for urgent reform of the Levy.

The group will convene this week to begin to draw up options for reform of the horseracing levy.

UK.- The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has formed a new steering group tasked with drawing up a single set of proposals for reform of the levy paid by betting operators.

The horseracing sector has been calling for a review of the levy with increased urgency due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on racecourses.

The new steering group will conduct a rapid assessment of options to put forward as the government looks at how to assist sports that have suffered from the economic impact of events without spectators.

It will work with the BHA’s public affairs team, which was instrumental in leading the initiative to extend the Levy to overseas betting.

The BHA’s independent director Joe Saumarez-Smith will chair the steering group, which is to meet this week. 

He said: “There have already been extensive discussions recently about the various options for reforming the Levy.

“The Levy steering group has the full support of the representative bodies in racing and will now draw on the expertise of stakeholders across the industry, who will work with me and the BHA executive team to try and reach a united view of the industry on this crucial area of funding of the sport.”

The group will comprise representatives from both racecourses and horsemen, such as Nevin Truesdale, acting Jockey Club chief executive, Martin Cruddace, Arena Racing Company CEO, and Charlie Parker and Philip Freedman of The Horsemen’s Group.

Will Lambe and Richard Wayman will represent the BHA executive.

The BHA already outlined an urgent need for levy reform in its Racing Recovery Plan in August.

BHA chair, Annamarie Phelps, said: “The Prime Minister promised that the Chancellor would prepare a package of support for sport.

“We have sent government at their request a new assessment of the impact of COVID on the finances of racing, including the potential mitigating impact of reform to the Levy, and making clear that the return of the public to racecourses is essential.

“Further proposals on the Levy are now being developed, supported by Nick Rust and his team.

“It is vital that we work through the appropriate channels, recognising racing’s close relationship with the betting industry. Pursuing alternative routes risks dividing racing into competing factions.”

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