Monday, April 03, 2006Contact: Paul Struthers, The Jockey Club
+44 020 7189 3862
New Horsearcing Regulatory Authority assumes tasks

Monday 3rd April marks an historic day for British horseracing when the Horseracing Regulatory Authority assumes control of the regulation of the sport from the Jockey Club.

The Jockey Club first announced its intention to transfer its regulatory role to an independently controlled board in 2003, acknowledging that the perception of a private club regulating a major British sport could be damaging to racing’s interests.

The HRA Board has been assembled to combine the Jockey Club’s experience of regulating racing, gained over 250 years, with the outside management and business experience of independent directors.

Whilst the establishment of a fully independent body is not yet possible for reasons of funding and pension provision, the HRA has now been set up as a division of the Jockey Club with an independently controlled board.

This Board will consist of three independent Directors (including John Bridgeman and Ben Gunn) and two Jockey Club nominated Directors. Given the current debate over the future relationship between regulation and the governing body, the appointment of a third independent Director is being delayed. In the meantime John Bridgeman, as independent Chairman with a casting vote, ensures the Board remains independently controlled.

John Bridgeman, Chairman of the HRA said: “This is a transitional arrangement while future funding and structures for the industry are debated and resolved but in the interim it will provide regulation demonstrably independent of the sport’s participants.

“It is the logical extension to the evolution of regulation which began with the introduction of non-Jockey Club members onto the Disciplinary Panel and which led to my appointment last year as Chairman of the Jockey Club’s Regulatory Board. My fellow directors and I will work to ensure that the Board’s decisions follow the principles of good regulation – that our decisions are proportionate, fair, transparent, consistent and that the Board is accountable to the sport’s participants as well as the wider racing public.”

Peter Webbon, the HRA’s first Chief Executive said:

“The launch of the HRA is not just a change of name for racing’s regulator. It gives all of us in racing the opportunity to review what we do in the regulatory process, starting with a completely clean sheet. “Nobody in the racing world can ignore the role of the Jockey Club in regulating racing for 250 years but we now have the opportunity to build on the best of that tradition, while making the most of the opportunities that are presented by becoming more demonstrably independent. It is our goal to move from regulatory good practice to regulatory best practice and, in doing so, to concentrate on our two priorities of maintaining the integrity of the sport and the safety of both horse and jockey. “The regulation of racing over the next months and years is going to be challenging. We in the HRA team welcome this challenge and will work tirelessly with everyone in racing to achieve our shared aim of a successful sport. We look forward to developing the HRA as an independent body and, in due course, to playing a full part in the evolution of new structures to govern and regulate racing.”

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