The Great Britain Greyhound Board (GBGB) announced that it has plans for the resumption of Greyhound racing behind closed doors once the government relaxes current restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.
The provisional proposal consists of five phases, the duration of which will be about two weeks each. The new policy will be subject to strict controls in compliance with the measures taken by the British government.
Greyhound racing in the UK has been suspended since march 24, although the GBGB had initially implemented closed-door racing shortly before national confinement took effect.
During phase one of the reopening program, test meetings would be held behind closed doors. While in phase two, the races would be resumed with the places closed. Each meeting would have a maximum of 10 races with a minimum of 30 minutes between races.
In phase three, the races would continue behind closed doors, according to the GBGB proposal, only it would increase to 12 the number of races per meeting and there would be a distance of 25 minutes between each race. The same would be for phase four, except that there would be no limit to the number of races and there would only be a 20-minute gap between races.
In the last phase, the races would normally be run with the assistance of people who could hold meetings and would be subject to the measures of personal distancing and public meetings adopted by the government.
“Appropriate health and safety protocols.”
This policy will be updated in accordance with future government guidelines on this matter, said the GBGB.
GBGB Managing Director Mark Bird said:
“We all recognize that a quick return to some form of career is the right course of action, not only for the financial impact on coaches and owners, but also for the physiological needs of greyhounds as canine athletes.”
Bird added that:
“However, we have expressed that it would be irresponsible to try to resume careers without taking the time to fully prepare and adopt all appropriate health and safety protocols.”
He also said that this operational policy is “an effective means for the gradual introduction of a return to greyhound racing, prioritizing in the first instance graduate races to support the vast majority of greyhounds and with the minimum amount of movement between racetracks.”
Mark Bird is confident that this proposed process provides “the best opportunity to progress quickly and safely through the phases for an eventual resumption of normal race activity, albeit behind closed doors.”
The proposal will be submitted for consideration by the UK Department for Digital Affairs, Culture, Media and Sports and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The GBGB plans were announced after the British Horseracing Association released a provisional racing schedule, prior to the resumption of the sport. The resumption of the races will take place from may 23 to 24.