The Jockey Club follows BHA by placing up to 400 staff on furlough leave

The Jockey Club becomes latest major racing body to stand down staff by placing up to 400 employees on furlough leave

  • The historic Jockey Club has furloughed close to two thirds of its workforce
  • Those involved come from catering, marketing, sales and sponsorship 
  • The decision has been made with the long-term aim of protecting jobs

The Jockey Club, which should have been hosting the opening of the three-day Aintree Grand National meeting today, has become the latest major racing body to stand down staff.

Arena Racecourse Company (ARC), which operates 16 tracks and five greyhound stadia, have made the same move.

Racemail understands the Jockey Club, which was formed in 1750 and has 15 British racecourse, has furloughed up to 400 of its staff – close to two thirds of its workforce. 

The Jockey Club should have been hosting the three-day Aintree Grand National meeting

What does ‘furlough’ mean?

When an employee is placed on furlough they are temporarily put on a leave of absence and not paid, although they remain on the payroll, meaning that they do not lose their job.

This could be because there is no work for these employees, or that the company is not able to afford to pay them, because of the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

In the United Kingdom, the Government is offering to pay 80 per cent of a furloughed employee’s wages, up to £2,500 per month, until they are able to resume their job full time.

Those involved come from all corners of the business including catering, marketing, sales and sponsorship but the decision has been made with the long-term aim of protecting jobs.

Staff have been retained who will make sure the Jockey Club’s tracks will be in a position to host action, albeit under restrictions, when the current shutdown finally ends.

A spokesman for ARC declined to say many staff had been stood down but added: ‘The current situation with regard the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of both horse and greyhound racing has, and will, put a significant strain on our business as we essentially lose all revenue streams through this period.

‘This decision has not been taken lightly, but we anticipate that it will put ARC in a much stronger position to welcome our colleagues back to work once it is safe to do so and we are operational again.”

The Jockey Club and ARC’s decision follows last week’s announcement that the British Horseracing Authority was standing down 80 per cent of its staff.

Meanwhile, Britain’s biggest betting operators have confirmed their plan to bet on Saturday’s Virtual Reality Grand National with any profits being donated to NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation which represents over 140 NHS charities.

The initiative has the backing of Betting and Gaming Council members including bet365, William Hill, Betfair, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, Ladbrokes, BetFred, Betway, BetVictor, JenningsBet and the Tote.

Starting Prices will be fixed while bets will be restricted to £10 win or £10 each-way (£20) with bookmakers paying on the first five places.

Horse Racing Ireland has announced it intends to stage the 2020 Irish National, which should have been run on April 13, during an enhanced National Hunt programme between October and December.

Next month’s Punchestown Festival has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.   

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