Sir Hugh Robertson to Chair the Racing Authority

People News

Former Minister for Sport and current Chair of the British Olympic Association, Sir Hugh Robertson, has been appointed to take on the role of independent Chair of the Racing Authority, it has been announced today.

Sir Hugh will start his induction in January when he becomes Chair of the Shadow Racing Authority. The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is due to be replaced by the Racing Authority in April 2019, at which stage Sir Hugh’s three-year term as independent Chair will commence.

The landmark reform of the Levy took effect in April 2017, since when enhanced funding has been flowing to the sport from all bets placed on British racing, including those placed remotely through betting operators who are based off-shore.

As well as the capturing of new funding, an important part of the Levy reform is the proposed creation of a new Racing Authority, effective from April 2019, which will take over from the HBLB. The Government is currently undertaking a consultation regarding the closure of the HBLB. This Racing Authority will be represented by British horseracing’s tripartite structure of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Racecourse Association (RCA) and Horsemen’s Group (HG) with Sir Hugh as its independent Chair.

The key roles of the Racing Authority will be to make expenditure decisions on behalf of British racing, ensure fair and transparent distribution of funds; funding growth; consultation with the betting industry and wider stakeholders and the growth of the racing product.

Following 10 years in the Army, including a spell in the Household cavalry, Sir Hugh worked with Schroders before becoming the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent in 2001. In 2010 Sir Hugh took up the post as Minister of Sport and the Olympics, followed by a position as Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responsible for Middle East, North Africa and counter-terrorism.

Since leaving politics in 2015, Sir Hugh has worked for Falcon Associates and currently chairs the British Olympic Association.

Sir Hugh Robertson said:

“I am delighted to be taking on this new role in British racing. I hope that my independence, experience of the wider world of sport and knowledge of sports finance will help racing make the most of this exciting new opportunity.”

Steve Harman, BHA Chairman, speaking on behalf of the nominations committee, which also included Maggie Carver, RCA Chairman and Nicholas Cooper, President of the ROA, said:

“We are delighted with this appointment. The shortlist was extremely high quality, reflecting where this sport is getting to in attracting talent of this calibre.

“Sir Hugh has worked tirelessly for British Olympic sport for more than 10 years, and was both an advocate and supporter in the Levy reform process. He is keen to grow the Racing Authority’s income and to drive the health and growth of the sport. He also brings a healthy independence to the Racing Authority, and significant governance experience.”