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30 April 2021

British Horseracing to support social media boycott

British horseracing (including Racing Together and Racing to School) will stand alongside the sporting community and take part in a social media boycott this weekend to highlight the issue of social media abuse and racism suffered by sporting participants that continues to go unaddressed.

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said:

“British racing supports the need to protect participants in sport from online hatred and abusive messages. We believe sports competitors and officials deserve respect and that social media should not be a hostile environment for those trying their best to compete and provide entertainment for the public. I am grateful to everyone in the sport who takes part in this boycott to help spread this clear message of solidarity to social media companies and say that enough is enough, and change is needed.”

Horseracing’s boycott will commence from 9pm on Friday evening, following a planned commemoration of the life of Lorna Brooke, the amateur jockey who sadly lost her life following injuries incurred during racing this month, and will run until 11:59pm on Monday 3 May.

The boycott takes place on one of the sport’s most important weekends, with two of Flat racing’s ‘Classic’ races taking place at Newmarket racecourse on Saturday and Sunday. The Jockey Club, which owns Newmarket racecourse, will be amongst those bodies who are taking part in the boycott.  All racecourses with meetings this weekend have been informed of the planned support for the boycott, as well as the bodies representing the sport’s participants.

Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), said:

“Our members receive vile abuse on a daily basis.  We are sick and tired of it and the lack of action by social media companies.  We and our members stand shoulder to shoulder with other sports in sending a united message that online hate and discriminatory abuse is totally unacceptable and needs to be eliminated.”

The PJA has co-funded a short film, “The Fall”, which is in post-production and will be released later this year, one of the themes of which is social media abuse and its effect on mental health..

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