Horse racing

HBLB steps in to help fund jockey insurance scheme for six more months

| By Robert Fletcher
The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is to provide financial support to the career-ending injury insurance scheme for British jockeys, ensuring the initiative can continue for a further six months until new funding is secured.

The £80,000 (€93,008/$112,854) grant will be added to funds provided by the Professional Jockeys’ Association (PJA), which operates the scheme on behalf of its members.

With the support of the HBLB funding, the PJA will continue to look for a sponsor or alternative funding from the within the sport to continue to fund the scheme in the longer term.

The funding comes after the scheme lapsed at the end of November last year after the PJA was unable to find a new sponsor or other funding from within racing due to the current economic climate caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The PJA has now committed close to £500,000 out of our own reserves to keep our jockeys covered for the last two years and our members can now be assured that they are covered for a career ending injury for the next six months whilst we try to find a sustainable, long-term solution for this vital scheme,” PJA chief executive Paul Struthers said.

HBLB chairman Paul Darling added: “This scheme has been in place for almost 10 years, paid for by commercial sponsorship and contributions from jockeys. It provided a critical safety net for jockeys, for whom the risk of serious injury is part of everyday normality.”

Darling also said the contribution from the HBLB would be a one-off one, with the organisation to work with the PJA to find a new sponsor.

“It is essential that fresh funding is found to continue this scheme and I am sure that racing organisations will play an active part in ensuring that the scheme is continued,” Darling said.

In October, the HBLB also said it would contribute £31.9m in funding towards the first four months of racing in Great Britain in 2021, to help the industry’s recovery from Covid-19.

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