A new model for race day officiating will be introduced in 2019 as the British Horseracing Authority seeks to “mitigate and manage the risks posed by contemporary integrity threats’.
Racing’s rulers say the new system of stewarding is “a new approach to improve standards of officiating, increase consistency, transparency and accountability and to bring British racing in to line with our sporting bodies and other racing jurisdictions”.
The new structure includes a program of professional development for both new and existing stewards and the introduction of a new chief steward role, which will be a professional BHA employee who has overall control of race day functions and will provide clear accountability and an escalation point for race day decisions.
Voluntary stewards will fulfil the role of stewards’ panel chair with responsibility for chairing inquiries and ensuring procedural fairness while a BHA race day assistant will also be employed to make sure all the race day functions link up.
“Horseracing is a major British sport, with a proud history, a global reach and with aspirations of continuing growth. It has always evolved with the times, keeping pace with wider social, political, economic and technological changes,” Brant Dunshea, chief regulatory officer for the BHA, said.
“Not only are we facing increased competition from other sports for support, publicity, sponsorship and investment, we are also at continuous risk from unscrupulous interests who seek to exploit and corrupt the sport for financial gain.
“The framework of race day regulation currently in place in Britain has served us well. However, to ensure that racing is best positioned to mitigate and manage the risks posed by contemporary integrity threats to so many sports, it’s essential that we continue to evolve and improve our regulatory systems.
“We believe that the new officiating model retains the best elements of the current model, while raising the bar on integrity, welfare and the management of risk and major incidents. We expect this to bring together all our race day teams, including our volunteer and professional stewards and other officials, into a more coherent, supportive, consistent, flexible and effective operation.”
The changes were made following consultations and review, with the new model set to be tested this autumn with a view to full introduction across all British racecourses in the first quarter of 2019.