BHA extends Musselburgh licence until end of the Flat season

Track cleared to race until October 16 as governance dispute remains unresolved

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Musselburgh has been granted a temporary licence until October 16, meaning the Scottish track’s fixtures during the remainder of the 2018 Flat season can go ahead as scheduled.

The Edinburgh circuit’s future has been thrown into doubt on several occasions in recent months following a well-publicised dispute between East Lothian Council and the Lothians Racing Syndicate.

Together the two bodies form the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee, which is responsible for the management and operation of the track.

A temporary licence from the British Horseracing Authority expired in April following several meetings between East Lothian Council and Lothians Racing Syndicate, who failed to reach agreement in finding a way forward.

The BHA rejected the council’s wish to begin running the course through a committee made up of four council members and two racing experts, which meant the Edinburgh track was unable to stage meetings unless a solution was found.

The ruling body, though, issued a temporary licence to ensure last week’s two-day fixture could go ahead and this has now been extended until the autumn.

A statement read: “The BHA Board remains of the view that it is in the interests of the racecourse and the wider sport for a temporary licence to be issued for this period.

“An update regarding the state of Musselburgh’s racecourse licence beyond October 16 will be provided nearer the time.”

Musselburgh’s general manager Bill Farnsworth believes there is still plenty of work to be done in resolving the situation, but is pleased the track will continue to race.

He said: “I am very pleased that progress is being made in determining the future governance of the racecourse and that the BHA has seen fit to grant a licence extension until the end of our Flat season.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but with co-operation and mutual understanding, the interested parties can produce a framework which will be acceptable to the BHA and which secures the long-term future of Musselburgh.”

Fiona O’Donnell, chair of the new Musselburgh Racecourse Associated Committee, added: “This is a further positive step in securing a long-term solution in the best interests of Musselburgh Racecourse.

“Racegoers, staff, owners and trainers now have certainty for the remainder of the Flat season.”

BHA extends Musselburgh licence until end of the Flat season
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