Greyhound racing is the latest sport to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), the body that regulates all licensed greyhound racing in Great Britain, has decided to move its events behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was made after discussions with veterinary experts and representatives from various parts of the industry. The board has also taken into account advice from the UK government and Public Health England.
What the Greyhound Board said
According to the announcement, the decision to move events behind closed doors will take place immediately but will not apply to Shawfield Greyhound Stadium in Scotland as government advice in Scotland is different to what the UK government has said.
Managing Director of GBGB, Mark Bird, said: “We are likewise mindful of the health and wellbeing of everyone associated with British greyhound racing and of course our wider social responsibility to help minimise the transmission and impact of COVID-19.
“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.
“Likewise, after Saturday this week, all open racing will be suspended temporarily to reduce the need for travelling between stadia. We will be working alongside track owners and promoters to support those most affected by this, with greyhounds being entered into graded races where possible in the short term.
“These measures will help to safeguard the welfare of our greyhounds by ensuring that, although, behind closed doors, racing continues wherever possible at this stage. However, as the situation develops at pace, we are also continuing to put in place contingencies and ring-fencing funds to support those working in the sport, should racing eventually need to pause altogether. We will be joining other industries in urging the government to widen the financial support for businesses and the self-employed in case of this eventuality.”
Another sport affected by COVID-19
Several other sports bodies across the globe have put events on hold due to health concerns over coronavirus. Earlier this week, the Jockey Club announced that the 2020 Randox Health Grand National Festival will not take place this year. The English Premier League (EPL), FA, EFL and WSL have also agreed to postpone all professional matches in England.
In the US, the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, decided to postpone sporting events indefinitely after a player for the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NCAA has also put March Madness on hold.