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BHA to increase fees by two per cent in 2020 to head off deficit

Owners and racecourses are among those facing an increase in fees
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Fees paid by racecourses and the sport's participants to the BHA are set to rise by two per cent in 2020, with the governing body warning it would make a loss budgeted at £600,000 without the hike.

The increase, which follows a three per cent rise this year, was down to inflationary costs, the BHA said.

More than 90 per cent of the BHA's annual income is generated by fees paid by racecourses and owners.

However, the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) said the fee increase would be difficult to accommodate at a time when prize-money was under so much pressure.

Richard Wayman: "This rise is necessary to offset the inflationary costs the BHA incurs"

In a note to stakeholders, BHA chief operating officer Richard Wayman said: "Whilst I appreciate that fee increases are never desirable, this rise is necessary to offset the inflationary costs the BHA incurs and will ensure that we have the resources to operate in the best interests of our sport.

"As you are all aware, questions of funding and budgetary management are never straightforward, particularly given the myriad financial challenges that our sport faces more generally.

"However, the BHA strives to ensure our decision-making is open, transparent and fully cognisant of the needs of racing and its participants."

The BHA is set to record a £600,000 deficit in 2019, which has scuppered efforts to break even over the course of a three-year-business plan which concludes this year and in which a surplus of £473,000 had previously been accumulated.

The shortfall has been blamed on two major unbudgeted items, the costs associated with the Racing Authority, which was scrapped earlier this year, and work done by Portas Consulting for an independent analysis of the financial and economic state of British racing.

Wayman added: "Our intention is always to deliver our activities in a way that ensures those paying the fees receive value for money. Consequently, we have identified areas where we can make changes to ensure we break even and that our plans are sustainable. 

"Without these changes, we would be budgeting for a £0.6m cash loss in 2020, which would follow a similarly forecast loss in 2019.

"Equally, going forward the BHA board have agreed a set of longer-term opportunities for delivery, including better use of technology in both raceday activities and racing administration."

Charlie Liverton (left): "Increase is difficult to accommodate"

ROA chief executive Charlie Liverton said he was keen to work with the BHA on the review of the sport's finances.

He said: "The Racehorse Owners Association discussed the proposed budget with the BHA and, whilst it is recognised the industry faces a number of financial challenges, the increase is difficult to accommodate at a time when the total prize fund is falling. 

"The ROA is keen to work closely as an industry partner with the BHA, reviewing the finances of the industry across a range of disciplines, in particular, encompassing the better use of technology and resources for the benefit of all stakeholders, and looks forward to continuing the discussions in early 2020."

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This rise will ensure that we have the resources to operate in the best interests of our sport
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