The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has announced that all of its races will move behind closed doors, in line with government advice about the global outbreak of novel coronavirus.
The decision will come into immediate effect, but at present will not apply to the Shawfield Greyhound Stadium in Scotland, as a result of advice from Scottish Parliament differing to that provided by the UK government.
Earlier this week, the British Horseracing Association (BHA) also said it would move all of its events behind closed doors, but later changed its approach and cancelled all meetings until at least the end of April.
“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,” GBGB managing director Mark Bird said.
“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.”
Bird also said that as of 21 March, 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,” Bird said. “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.”