Horse racing is set to return in Ireland earlier-than-expected next month, albeit under ‘strict protocols’ from the government.
Originally, the sport was supposed to return to the Emerald Isle on 29th June. However, that date has now been moved to 8th June.
All events will have to take place behind closed doors, with only key individuals needed at venues allowed to attend.
Social distancing will also be enforced by protocol officers, with health checks also included prior to entry.
Bringing things forward
The main guidelines that will need to be adhered to at every race are below.
- Only key personnel will be permitted to attend race fixtures.
- All attendees will be subject to health screening in advance and thermal temperature screening on arrival. Anyone presenting with elevated temperatures will be denied access and instructed to consult with their GP.
- Everybody, from jockeys to people working inside, is obliged to wear face masks.
- Social distancing will be strictly enforced by a dedicated COVID-19 protocol officer at each fixture.
Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh said the following about the incoming return of the sport.
“We will publish our full protocols tomorrow and will require any key personnel necessary to run a race fixture to read the document in full.
“There must be full compliance with these protocols and to assist the industry in becoming familiar with the changed workplace, a series of webinars on the COVID-19 Protocols will be announced next week.
“These will not be race meetings as you might traditionally imagine them, rather stripped back events which will determine the best horses in various categories, a vital factor for the breeding industry. Attendance will be kept to an absolute minimum and COVID-19 protocols will be strictly enforced.”
Sports slowly returning to the calendar in Europe
Horse racing is also back underway in Germany and France, both of which are taking place behind closed doors.
In Germany, football has also been allowed to resume. Over the weekend just gone, the country’s top two divisions – the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga – restarted without fans in attendance.
Meanwhile, the Premier League in England hopes to return at some point in June.
As for the Champions League and Europa League, the Guardian reported yesterday that UEFA plans to conclude both campaigns by the end of August. The organisation has also said that everything appears to be in place for the postponed Euro 2020 tournament to go ahead next summer.