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French Horse Racing Set To Return in May

Horse Racing in France could proceed on May 11 despite government restrictions 
france horse racing to return - news
May 11 is the scheduled return date for horse racing in France. (Getty)

Horse racing in France could still resume on May 11 despite French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's recent announcement regarding the cancelling of sporting events until September. 

The 2019-20 Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football seasons have been cancelled, but the restrictions are not believed to apply to horse racing.

French racing requires a clearance from the Agriculture and Finance Ministries as opposed to Sport. Last week the governing body of flat and steeplechase horse racing in France, France Galop, released a revised fixture based on a May 11 return.

The fixture list starts with a high-class card at ParisLongchamp that will feature a number of Classic trials.

It was reported that officials from France Galop had been in positive discussions with ministers from the agricultural department. The governing body is still awaiting a final decision on whether it can proceed as scheduled.

France Galop chief executive Olivier Delloye told Sky Sports Racing: "The prime minister made quite a long speech regarding the way the country will operate at the end of the quarantine period.

"As far as racing is concerned there is not so much breaking news, knowing that a couple of days earlier we got support from the two ministers who are in charge of supervising the racing and betting industry, who expressed their support for the resumption of racing on 11 May.

"I do understand from an English perspective this creates some sort of confusion. You have to know that France Galop is not considered as a sport federation, so we are definitely not regulated by all the laws related to sport - we are regulated by the ministry of agriculture, so we are not really in the same situation as other sports.

"So we stick to what our ministers in charge of supervising our industry are telling us and they are telling us you can proceed with racing resumption on 11 May, provided you fulfil all the commitments you are taking as far as the security and safety of people involved in racing being respected.

"Basically that means we will of course operate behind closed doors, which we did in early March before the start of the quarantine period."

France is aiming to enforce similar strict hygiene measures based on the British Horse Racing Authority's (BHA) recommendations to government for the UK to return to racing. No foreign horses or participants will be allowed until at least the end of May.

Horse racing has continued in Hong Kong, Australia and United States despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

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