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24 November 2020

Industry Statement on Diversity

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) Board invited Rishi Persad to join its scheduled meeting on Wednesday to share his views on racing’s approach to diversity and his experience having aired his own views publicly in the past few days.

The Board condemns the responses Rishi has received and strongly believes that the sport needs to have an open, progressive and respectful debate about diversity, for both moral reasons and in the interests of the long term health of the industry.

Industry leaders, representing the sport’s tripartite structure of the BHA, Racecourse Association (RCA) and Horsemen and women, issued the following joint statement:

“Racing prides itself on the welcome it gives to all. We want to engage fans from all communities and we want talented people, whatever their background, to be able to succeed in our sport.

“However, our industry’s leaders acknowledge that pockets of discrimination exist in all areas of society, and our sport is no different. All are agreed that this has no place in our industry and that the sport must unite in standing against discrimination of any kind in racing. We can, and will, do better on this front.

“We pride ourselves on the respect we show for our horses and for the sport’s rules and traditions. We are a sport which has embraced diversity in many ways, including people of all genders competing on equal terms. We must welcome constructive debate on any issue, but we expect all those in our sport to show respect to each other when competing and when discussing our sport and its future.”

It was also noted that agreement was reached at the recent Members Committee meeting that the industry’s leadership organisations will progress proposals put forward by the sport’s Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG) to publish a unified commitment and a plan to improve diversity and inclusion, aiming to build on the work which has been carried out across the industry in recent years.

Annamarie Phelps – British Horseracing Authority
Charlie Parker – Horsemen’s Group
Maggie Carver – Racecourse Association

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