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Hancock praises 'man of integrity' in letter to under-fire Harman

BHA chairman Steve Harman
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Culture minister Matthew Hancock found time to wade into the boardroom row engulfing the BHA with an intervention which left in little doubt his support for under-fire chairman Steve Harman.

Hancock wrote to Harman after the government came to its decision to cut FOBT stakes to £2 to address concerns about the effect that would have on racing.

Newmarket MP Hancock said it had been “a pleasure” to meet with Harman at Cheltenham earlier this year to discuss “such a range of areas”.

The minister added: “I have valued working through them with you as such a man of integrity, and with Nick Rust and Will Lambe in your excellent team.”

The letter concluded: “I look forward to receiving further details on some of the proposals set out in your letter and to working with you in this role for a long time to come.”

The final four words were underlined in the letter, which Hancock later tweeted.

Harman’s tenure as BHA chairman is in question following an investigation into allegations he had a conflict of interest when he twice had contact with Alex Frost, chief executive of the Alizeti consortium that is set to invest in the Tote in competition with racecourse pool betting project Britbet, at the Cheltenham Festival. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The BHA board is understood to be meeting today to again discuss the crisis at the head of the organisation, with efforts being made by some of racing’s shareholders to find a solution.

Chief executive Nick Rust, at York for the Dante meeting, said he thought the matter would be resolved soon.

When asked what was happening, Rust said: “I can’t really talk about that, other than to say that I would hope matters will be resolved in the next few days. It’s a private matter obviously affecting an organisation and one of its officers.”


Read more on this subject

Future of BHA chairman Steve Harman expected to be decided soon

Harman crisis: Horsemen's chairman Freedman urges fundamental review of BHA


 

I have valued working through them with you as such a man of integrity, and with Nick Rust and Will Lambe in your excellent team
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