WARWICK’S pilot meeting on Monday has been given the green light to take place, but with a crowd reduced from a proposed 800 people to 474 spectators.
As a result, no tickets will go on sale to the general public – with the spaces filled by annual members, hospitality and owners.
When last week’s pilot scheme at Doncaster was halted by the local authority after just one day, Warwick reduced its capacity from 1,000 to 800 but, following meetings with Public Health England, the figure has been further reduced.
Warwick is owned by the Jockey Club, like Newmarket, and the latter track is still planning to stage the Cambridgeshire meeting (September 24-26) in front of 1,000 racegoers each day.
A statement on Warwick’s website read: “Following discussions with local authorities and representatives, Warwick Racecourse will welcome up to 474 spectators at its Monday, September 21 racing fixture as part of a limited capacity trial, with stringent health and safety measures in place for its first meeting since March.
“The restricted capacity will be filled by 150 annual members, 124 hospitality bookers and up to 200 racehorse owners, in addition to participants and raceday staff.
“Tickets will not go on general sale given the limits involved.”
With a handful of football matches this weekend also hosting small crowds, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden issued an update on the pilot schemes.
He tweeted: “Return of fans to sport update. Just held a collaborative and constructive meeting with major sports on the October 1 review. There is mutual understanding of the need to get fans back in, while all acknowledging the very significant headwinds we face with the virus.
“The Government is conducting this review rapidly and will complete this work on the return of fans as soon as possible. This follows a meeting I held with the business events sector earlier this week as part of the review.”
The British Horseracing Authority, along with a number of other sporting bodies including the Premier League, English Football League and England and Wales Cricket Board, met with Dowden on Wednesday and issued a joint statement after their discussions.
The statement said: “We conveyed to the Secretary of State the very serious financial situation now facing our sports, clubs and venues and that we believe we can stage events safely.
“It is clear that if fans cannot return soon that there will be very serious economic implications across our sporting sector.
“Our sports have already demonstrated through staging fixtures behind closed doors, in test events and through the return of recreational sport that we can deliver the very highest standards in safety and best practice.
“We will continue to engage with the Government in the days ahead and provide any further evidence required.”
By PA Sport reporters.