By Racing Post
22nd May 2020

GBGB managing director Mark Bird “remains optimistic” that a fixture list for the proposed restart of racing on Monday, June 1 can be published next week despite protracted negotiations between media rights holders and bookmaker customers over funding.
A number of stakeholders, including owners and trainers, have voiced concern about the lack of definitive information as the week has progressed and requalifying trials taken place which Bird acknowledged.
Responding to social media queries as to whether greyhound racing will go ahead on June 1, he said: “Whilst the media rights aspects of UK greyhound racing sits between our licensed tracks and Arena Racing and SIS, and not the GBGB, nothing I have heard leads me to believe that racing will not commence, as planned, in a little over a week’s time.
“I understand that specific digital platform deals are still being discussed between ARC, SIS and their bookmaker customers.
“I reiterate that UK greyhound racing remains a great bookmaking product with good margins, great welfare standards and high integrity.
“I remain optimistic that we should be in a position to publish racing fixtures sometime next week and in the meantime, trainers should continue to trial in their dogs at the majority of the tracks that are providing trial sessions on a Covid-19 secure basis.”
One betting industry insider said: “The fantastic job the GBGB and tracks have done in getting trials sessions under way is certainly appreciated, but in parallel it looks increasingly uncertain that any commercial and financial arrangements can be reached in time to fund racing’s resumption with the betting shops remaining shut. The current consideration of other scenarios if those commercial arrangements fail to be put in place is never a good sign.”