The UK’s horseracing industry is the latest sport to be impacted by the spread of COVID-19.
The British Horseracing Association (BHA) has announced that all scheduled racing events will still take place but without spectators due to health concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
The plan was agreed by the BHA, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group and from now, any racing fixtures set to take place in England, Wales or Scotland, initially until the end of March, will still take place. However, spectators will not be allowed and there will a restriction placed on how many attendees will be allowed to enter venues.
In its announcement, the BHA said it will aim to continue and hold races as scheduled wherever possible but stated that the situation is “very fluid” which means cancellations are possible.
What the BHA said
In its announcement, Chief Executive of the BHA, Nick Rust, said: “Racecourses and racing yards are embedded in their local communities and we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to protect public health.
“The restrictions we are putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services. We also have a range of measures in place designed in response to the government’s guidance on public health and we will continue to update these as appropriate.
“We acknowledge that today’s decision will also impact on local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, who are struggling at this time. We are following the government’s advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity and will continue to do so. We thank our customers and staff for their support.”
Other sports put on hold
The English Premier League (EPL), FA, EFL and WSL have collectively agreed to postpone all professional matches in England due to the spread of coronavirus.
In the US, the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, decided to put 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.
Italy’s football division Serie A has also postponed all games until April 3, while Spain’s La Liga has put the next two rounds of games on hold.
Formula 1 has suspended its season-opening Australian Grand Prix in response to an outcry from drivers and team members. Prior to this decision, McLaren already withdrew for, the race after one its team members tested positive for the virus.