Courses angered by BHB media rebuff

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The divide between racing's authorities over the pooling of media rights grew even wider yesterday as Britain's racecourses admitted that agreement between them and the British Horseracing Board "is not yet in sight".

The divide between racing's authorities over the pooling of media rights grew even wider yesterday as Britain's racecourses admitted that agreement between them and the British Horseracing Board "is not yet in sight".

On Monday the Racecourse Association agreed in principle to the pooling of all media rights, conditional upon what they saw as a satisfactory distribution of income. However, on Thursday the BHB rejected the RCA's proposals.

A statement from the RCA yesterday said: "The RCA is naturally disappointed that BHB members rejected, at the meeting yesterday, the RCA proposal for pooling rights. It was a practical solution, which addressed detailed issues which have yet to be tackled by the BHB. We will be contacting the BHB to seek clarification of the detailed reasons for this rejection.

"The BHB press release does however contain some material inaccuracies, which must be corrected. Racecourses did not accept on 31 July, as was suggested, the BHB's proposal for the pooling of rights. They supported unanimously the RCA's proposal for the pooling of rights, which has now been rejected by the BHB.

"The meeting was attended by BHB representatives who would well know this. As things stand, racecourses have clearly not agreed to pool their rights."

The distribution of revenue from pooled rights is the main sticking point between the RCA and BHB. The BHB's proposal would allocate 63 per cent of new revenue to prize-money in accordance with the Financial Plan. In contrast, the RCA's proposal is for nearer 30 per cent.

"The Financial Plan would not be an acceptable basis for agreeing the pooling of rights," the statement said, "as it makes no provision for additional income for racecourses."

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