BHA appoints former minister to chair Racing Authority

10 January 2018

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has named former UK government minister Sir Hugh Robertson as independent chair of the new Racing Authority.

Robertson will begin his induction this month by becoming chair of the Shadow Racing Authority, before taking on the full independent chair role when the new Racing Authority launches next year.

In April 2019, the current Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) will be replaced by the Racing Authority as part of a major reform of the UK racing sector.

The government is undertaking a consultation regarding the closure of the HBLB, and when complete, the Racing Authority will then be represented by British horseracing’s tripartite structure: the BHA, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group.

Robertson will serve a three-year term as chair of the Racing Authority, with the key responsibilities of making expenditure decisions on behalf of British racing; ensuring fair and transparent distribution of funds; funding growth; consultation with the betting industry and wider stakeholders; and the growth of the racing product.

Appointed as Minister of Sport and the Olympics in 2010, Robertson also went on to hold the position Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responsible for Middle East, North Africa and counter-terrorism.

Since leaving politics in 2015, Robertson has worked for Falcon Associates and currently chairs the British Olympic Association.

“I am delighted to be taking on this new role in British racing; I hope that my independence, experience of the wider world of sport and knowledge of sports finance will help racing make the most of this exciting new opportunity,” Robertson said.

BHA chairman Steve Harman added: “We are delighted with this appointment; the shortlist was extremely high quality, reflecting where this sport is getting to in attracting talent of this calibre.

“Sir Hugh has worked tirelessly for British Olympic sport for more than 10 years, and was both an advocate and supporter in the Levy reform process.

“He is keen to grow the Racing Authority’s income and to drive the health and growth of the sport.

“He also brings a healthy independence to the Racing Authority, and significant governance experience.”

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