The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has approved a proposal put forward by the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) to enable betting organisations to sponsor individual jockeys.
Under the existing BHA Code of Conduct, operators are only permitted to strike sponsorship agreements involving 50 or more jockeys.
However, the BHA has now agreed to relax the rule on a trial basis in order to allow betting companies to broker deals with individual jockeys.
The trial will commence today (Wednesday) and run for at least nine months.
Sponsorship agreements will only be permitted with betting operators that have broad funding deals in place with British Racing, in particular those paying the full Horserace Betting Levy or equivalent through commercial or voluntary arrangements.
Rules that prevent jockeys associating with betting organisation representatives on a racecourse remain in place while non-riding commercial deals with betting operators will continue to be registered separately.
All contracts will remain subject to approval by the BHA.
“The move to permit sponsorship of individual jockeys by bookmakers will hopefully have a beneficial financial impact on riders at all levels,” the BHA’s director of public affairs and policy, Will Lambe, said.
“In approving this proposal, the board gave careful consideration to integrity concerns, particularly around perception.
“We have already permitted individual non-riding promotional deals with bookmakers for two years with no integrity or perception concerns having arisen, while bookmaker branding presence is of course already widespread on British racecourses.”
Nigel Payne, chairman of the PJA, added: “We have been working closely with the BHA on this project for some time.
“We are particularly delighted as this offers new earning potential for our members and excellent sponsorship opportunities for bookmakers.
“We will be urging our members and their sponsors who enter new contracts to respect our ongoing arrangement with Stobarts. Co-existence with the Stobart posteria site will help protect this company’s immense contribution to the vital area of Career Ending Insurance, which addresses a significant issue of jockey welfare.”
source : www.igamingbusiness.com