Linda Jones - May 2016
I absolutely despair at what is happening in greyhound racing today.
I worry about greyhounds’ welfare, greyhounds getting injured, and who really cares?
The GTA do, loads of trainers and kennel hands do, owners do, in fact lots of genuine greyhound people do. Do bookmakers? Yes they do, but with the bookmakers now paying streaming direct to promotors, and a decreasing amount into the fund you have to wonder what will happen when fund money drops. As you know not all bookmakers pay into the fund, and quite honestly I can understand why! However, they need to know that trainers and their families are suffering from lack of money, prize money is low, kennel fees are low and believe me it's NOT cheap to train greyhounds. When you consider that to keep a pet dog in a boarding kennel is between £14 - £20 per day per dog! Trainers as far as I know don't charge anywhere near that price!
I went to the government specifically on the monitoring of dogs when they retire and on publishing of injury data. Despite the EFRA enquiry there has been no movement on the former, and GBGB said at evidence in Parliament in December 2015 the new injury database would be up and running by end March 2016 (Q155 of Parliamentary evidence here)
I quote 156 Q&A here:
“Q156 Chair: By March next year, we can have absolute confidence that this database will be in place, can we?
John Curran: That is what I am told, and that is what we will hold the GBGB accountable to.”
Now June 2016 has anybody heard anything on this new system?
Things need to change, more prize money is required and our sport needs a levy. I know at the EFRA inquiry the governing body was asked "do you want a levy?" the answer that was given was “what we need to do is to sit down and work out a new deal that gives the betting industry what it needs from us, and that gives us what we need from the betting industry”
Of course greyhound racing needs a levy to bring us into line with horse racing.
As far as I can see the GBGB chairman has made lots of empty promises, we still haven't got any more money gone into the fund. I was at a meeting three years ago, with Mr Kelly, Mr Harvey, Chris Page, Dave Houfton, John Coleman, Jim Reynolds, my son-in-law Mark Wallis, Rick Holloway. We explained how trainers were struggling - Mark sent a copy of his accounts, I spoke about some serious welfare matters, all that attended spoke of the sports plight. What happened subsequently?, NOTHING ! Not a bean into the fund just more empty promises, it simply isn't good enough.
In the racing post Tuesday, it reported £750k streaming money going direct to promotors £750k which is going to bookmakers bags tracks only, bookies paying bookies. All good for them, but WHAT ABOUT THE FUND? Promotors get grants for tractors, carpets, toilets, painting, building jobs etc. WHAT ABOUT THE GREYHOUNDS and TRAINERS and PRIZE MONEY?
There is no new money, and I fear for non-BAGS grass roots tracks, and also unattached Open Race only trainers..
Apparently, I'm persona non grata, and have been refused to join GBGB Board because I haven't distanced myself from allegations made about the GBGB. I haven't spoken to or heard from Mr Kelly since he visited my kennel before Christmas 2015 when Mark and I made him welcome. Mr Kelly has not tried to ring me or anyone in the GTA in a long while. Everything we have tried we have been totally ignored if we rang the GBGB we were told we were causing trouble. So we stuck to emails and we were and still are ignored. We have all the emails we have sent and can prove what I'm saying. The governing body has not talked to us at all. Yes Ricky got a seat on the board eventually, but when he reported irregular activity (as a director is supposed to do) he was called some nasty names and sacked at the next board meeting.
The reason the GTA called for a forensic audit is because of the irregular activities. If there is nothing to hide why not have a forensic audit. I don't know how expensive an audit would be, but considering the cost of the Deloitte report, and the Owners Survey and nothing came out of these reports, why worry about the cost? If the audit proves there is nothing wrong all well and good. However, not all is well at the GBGB, as GTA know there is an internal investigation going on. I don't think we will get to know the outcome of that..
The letter with 20 signatories has been signed by one trainer as far as GTA know. The trainer that instigated this letter ran for head of GTA and won, but was challenged by a member of the current board. He walked away instead of carrying on and fighting his corner. That's when Nora stepped in, the rest is now history. Some of the GTA committee have contacted quite a few of the trainers who were said to have signed the letter most of them said they didn't sign the letter yet. GBGB has changed its articles of association to accommodate some of the changes to the board.
I know GTA haven't always said or done the right things under Ricky's chairmanship, but I can wholeheartedly tell you that he is totally committed to greyhounds and trainers and owners and getting a better deal, all the GTA are committed I can assure you all.
Q1. Why was Ricky ousted from the GBGB board?.
A. It was because he reported unusual activities, as directors are required to do.
Q2. Over the time Ricky has been chairperson of GTA, some members of GTA have been
ignored and not allowed to sit on committees. Why?
A. We would like an answer to this question.
Q3. Since the GTA was formed several years ago, they have been allowed small regular annual grant monies from the fund, we have not received any monies for expenses for 18 months now. Why?
A. Another question we would like an answer to
Q4. Why won't the GBGB have a forensic audit to dispel worries that a lot of people
A. Is it because they know things are wrong and maybe GTA is right?
I looked at the GBGB mission statement “GBGB is a centre for governance, regulation and welfare as well as a lead for commercial development and growth of the sport. It is committed to managing its functions to the highest standards achievable and being efficient, effective and accountable to those that it licenses, and the public”
I look at above and in the wise words of an industry controlling figure…. “That is what I am told, and that is what we will hold the GBGB accountable to.”
1000 signatures on a petition calling for a forensic audit surely can’t be wrong?