The Board of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has approved a proposal from the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) that the Code of Conduct regarding sponsorship of professional jockeys by bookmakers should be relaxed, on a trial basis.
Betting organisations will now be permitted to sponsor individual jockeys, as opposed to the previous regulation which only permitted sponsorship agreements involving 50 or more jockeys.
The Board provided approval of this at the end of 2014, and such deals will be permitted to commence as of 1 April 2015. The trial will be reviewed after nine months.
Sponsorship agreements will only be permitted with betting organisations with broad funding deals in place with British Racing, in particular those paying the full Horserace Betting Levy or equivalent through commercial or voluntary arrangements, including Additional Voluntary Contributions.
The terms of all such contracts will be subject to registration with and final approval by the BHA. The Rules preventing a jockey associating with betting organisation representatives on a racecourse remain in place and non-riding commercial agreements with betting organisations will continue to be registered separately.
Will Lambe, Director of Public Affairs and Policy for the BHA, said:
“The move to permit sponsorship of individual jockeys by bookmakers will hopefully have a beneficial financial impact on riders at all levels. The previous regulations only allowed for block sponsorship of 50 or more jockeys by a bookmaker, and these terms obviously proved overly prohibitive as no such deals were signed."
“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, said
"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."