While there was good news for the horse racing industry with the news that racing will resume June 8, the same could not be said for greyhound racing as, for now at least, the date for resumption remains June 29.
The Irish Greyhound Board’s chairman, Frank Nyhan, has admitted that the board is “at a loss” to understand why greyhound racing is “not assessed as being capable of operating behind closed doors from June 8”. They will seek clarity from the Department of Agriculture.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Nyhan said: “Greyhound racing has proven its ability to run ‘racing behind closed doors’ and successfully complied with all Covid-19 protocols when operating on a closed-doors basis during early March 2020.
“The strict enforcement of a ‘one person, one dog’ policy with a small number of regulatory personnel on site ensures a well-managed activity with all risks minimised. The extensive outdoor areas at our tracks enables social distancing requirements to be fully met without difficulty.
“The protocols operating during March have been enhanced and physical alterations are being undertaken at our stadia to further facilitate compliance with these enhanced protocols.
“The IGB is at a loss to understand why, on a risk basis, greyhound racing is not assessed as being capable of operating behind closed doors from June 8 next as it is clear that all necessary protocols can be fully complied with.
“The IGB is absolutely intent on ensuring that all of its tracks and stadia operate to the necessary standards while Covid-19 remains with us.
“The arrangements already in place and the further enhancements proposed ensure that the greyhound community can safely participate in racing behind closed doors and enable the greyhound racing industry to be restarted and provide an outlet for the health and welfare of our greyhounds.
“We are taking the matter up immediately with the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine to obtain clarification on the overall situation.”
In better news for the sport, during the last Bank Holiday, in excess of €2,000 was raised for the Retired Greyhound Trust and the animal nutrition company Gain has revealed it will match that figure for the cause.