GHRRA Responds To GRNSW Criticism Over Club Stewards

The Greyhound and Harness Racing Regulatory Authority (“the Authority”) notes the expression of concern by Greyhound Racing NSW about the Authority’s decision to enhance its integrity policy through changed qualifications for Club Stewards at Non-TAB meetings.

The key points of the improved policy are:

  • Effective 1 July 2009, Clubs may not employ licensed Trainers, Owner / Trainers or Attendants as Club Stewards
  • Existing Club Stewards are exempt from this restriction and may continue to be employed as Club Stewards
  • The Authority will provide an education process to ensure Club Stewards are aware of their responsibilities
  • A Club Stewards’ Manual has been distributed to all NSW Club Stewards

In practical terms, this decision will impact the day-to-day operations of very few Clubs. Of all the Non TAB race meetings held in NSW, the vast majority of them are conducted by persons unaffected by these changes.

Rather than imposing “higher standards” for Stewarding at Non-TAB Clubs, this change promotes confidence in the industry through adopting the same high standard of Stewarding across all greyhound race meetings in NSW.

The change allows our industry to more directly comply with the Greyhound Racing Rules and with the Recommendations of ICAC’s report on the Greyhound Racing industry (The Greyhound Report).

In particular, Greyhound Racing Rules 104 (6) and 104 (7) state that Stewards and Officials officiating in a capacity that may have an effect on the result of a race may not adjudicate on a matter in which they are involved in a personal capacity.

As those involved in Stewarding would appreciate, the role of Stewards and Officials extends to functions that affect the entire race meeting, and are not necessarily confined to a particular race. Merely removing a Steward from a race in which they are known to have personal interest may not remove a Steward from the possibility of conflict with this rule.

These changes also consider the recommendations of ICAC’s The Greyhound Report. Notably, Recommendation 7 of this report required that the “policy on recruiting individuals with an existing connection with the greyhound racing industry” be reviewed.

The Authority has not decided to exclude all individuals with an existing connection to the greyhound racing industry from Stewarding. This change seeks only to separate the important functions of a Steward from any real or perceived conflict held by Trainers, Owner / Trainers and Attendants.

Integrity remains of fundamental importance to all racing codes. While ever greyhound racing involves wagering and animal welfare the public interest is concerned to a far greater degree than is usually found in other “community sports”. Accordingly, a stronger test of integrity must apply to greyhound racing than may do with other “community sports”.

The Authority looks forward to working with all Clubs in assisting them through this change.