Edouard de Rothschild has been involved in ministerial meetings | Scoop Dyga
Two French government ministers have expressed their support of a phased-in resumption of the racing programme in France from Monday, May 11. The Agricultural Ministry has also announced financial aid for the racing sector largely through a temporary cut in betting tax.
Last Tuesday, the French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume and his ministerial colleague Gérald Darmanin met Edouard de Rothschild and Jean-Pierre Barjon, the respective heads of France Galop and trotting authority LeTrot, to discuss plans to allow the return of racing action in the week following the easing of lockdown restrictions for France. Also at the meeting were directors of the PMU, which essentially funds horseracing through its betting monopoly.
It has been proposed by France Galop that racing will start initially behind closed doors and under strict sanitary conditions with only two representatives per horse allowed at the racecourse. These measures follow those already utuilised in France for several weeks before racing was suspended fully on March 17. Race meetings at a number of the country’s most rural and least-used racecourses will not be run in full during the first phase of the resumption which will see up to three fixtures take place per day in different regions.
A statement released on Monday by the Agricultural Ministry read, “The ministers undertook to support this request with the health authorities. In addition, in order to support the finances of this sector during the health crisis, the state has authorised the PMU to postpone and spread over time the payment to the state budget of part of the horse racing levy.”
The economic impact of the racing shutdown in France has been estimated to be in the region of €58 million. While racing looks set to resume behond closed doors next month, a complicating factor in funding the sport is that a large number of the cafes which house PMU betting outlets may remain closed.
Heading the three race meetings currently scheduled to take place on May 11 in a revised racing programme announced by France Galop last week is ParisLonchamp’s feature, which includes the G2 Prix d’Harcourt and two Classic trials.