Greyhound racing to be reformed

United Kingdom

This article was produced by Olswang LLP, which joined with CMS on 1 May 2017.

Following the Sunday Times' exposure of the Seaham dogs scandal last year, greyhound racing commissioned Lord Donoughue to examine the regulation of greyhound racing and to make recommendations to ensure that its regulation is efficient and effective. The report (click here to view) was published on 27 November 2007 and contains 37 recommendations for a wholesale restructuring of the sport's regulatory and governance structure.

As with Lord Donoughue's report into horseracing, he has recommended that the existing bodies, the National Greyhound Racing Council, the British Greyhound Racing Board and the British Greyhound Racing Fund, are all abolished with their functions being subsumed into a single new body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. British greyhound racing has generally been regarded as characterised by internecine disputes which has led to the sport and the various bodies involved in its governance and administration being unable to act in a co-ordinated way to prevent the sport's steady decline. Lord Donoughue's recommendations are designed to put an end to that.

There will clearly be some groups who will not favour the Donoughue reforms and who are, therefore, likely to need some coercion in order to co-operate. However, in the horseracing inquiry conducted by Lord Donoughue, the stick which the Government was able to wield in order to encourage reform was the threatened abolition of the Levy whereas greyhound racing has no statutory funding. The governmental threat for greyhound racing is, presumably, that if it does not reform, a statutory regulatory framework will be introduced to address the welfare concerns raised by Seaham.