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Racing industry under spotlight again

PUBLISHED: 06:02 17 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

THE horseracing industry could be scrutinised again by BBC investigators despite historic plans to transform the sports regulation.

A spokesman for the BBC has said that both Panorama and Kenyon Confronts programme producers are considering further investigations into alleged corruption within the sport, for which hundreds of people in west Suffolk rely upon for their livelihood.

THE horseracing industry could be scrutinised again by BBC investigators despite historic plans to transform the sports regulation.

A spokesman for the BBC has said that both Panorama and Kenyon Confronts programme producers are considering further investigations into alleged corruption within the sport, for which hundreds of people in west Suffolk rely upon for their livelihood.

The news came as The Jockey Club signalled an end to its 250-year responsibility for regulating horseracing and the transfer to an "independent" company.

The Jockey Club said the proposal would bring "greater independence and wider accountability" to the regulatory role while "retaining the knowledge and expertise of the Jockey Club and its employees".

But BBC officials said the move did not go far enough and did not signal a "clean break" from Jockey Club rule.

A BBC spokesman said there had been a lot of reaction to both Panorama and Kenyon Confronts programmes, aired last year, which had produced new avenues for investigation.

He said: "These moves in the direction of independent regulation have clearly been prompted by the scrutiny under which racing and the Jockey Club were placed by Panorama and Kenyon Confronts.

"Clearly the proposals do not amount to a clean break with the widely discredited set-up run by the Jockey Club.

"Whether they (the proposals) will succeed in bringing about a truly independent regulator with sufficient powers to bring about the effective regulation of racing remains to be seen.

"In the meantime, the racing public is still not protected by any fully independent regulation of the sport, and the business of racing," the BBC spokesman added.

The outline proposal, which has been supported by the Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, envisages a company with an independent Chairman and an independently controlled board taking on The Jockey Club's current regulatory responsibilities.

It is proposed that the board of the new company would comprise four independent directors and two nominated by the Jockey Club as well as a number of executive directors to be determined by the Board.

Christopher Spence, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: "We are proud of The Jockey Club's achievements in the field of regulation, which have earned British racing its reputation for integrity, trust and respect, not only nationally but internationally.

"However, we recognise that in today's changing environment the perception of a private club regulating a major British sport could be damaging to racing's interests.

"In proposing this change, we believe we are acting responsibly towards racing's participants, racegoers and the general public.

"We look forward to using our knowledge and expertise to continue to serve racing to the best of our ability," Mr Spence added.


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