The British Horseracing Board (BHB) has indicated that it will go to court ifit fails to overturn the preliminary ruling by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that it is in breach of competition law.
Following the publication last week of its long-awaited report, the OFT said that the BHB, racing’s central administratingbody, was acting as an illegal monopoly in its allocation of fixtures, its allocation of money to racecourses, and its copyright on racing data.
The BHB has until 24 June to respond in writing to the OFT. Greg Nichols, BHB chief executive,admitted there is room for manoeuvre over the centrally allocated fixture list.
But he insisted: “Data is the Rubicon. Racing as it is structured has delivered £100m a year. To jeopardise a revenue stream of that magnitude would not be good for racing. There is a certain process but the final recourse is the Court of Appeal. That’s an avenue we can take if we choose.”
The OFT report, which took three years to complete, effectively threatens the future of the BHB as an effective governing body for the sport.