Wednesday, October 07, 2020Contact: Andrew Chesser
Virtual 2020 IFHA Conference Analyzes Racing Media Coverage in a Pandemic

The second of four virtual panels of the 54th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, organized by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), was released today. It features a discussion on adapting the broadcast, production, and media experience to a COVID-19 racing and sporting landscape.

The IFHA Conference is typically held in-person in Paris, France, the day after the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), but in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year it is being conducted as a series of videos released during the first two weeks of October.

The second session was introduced by IFHA Vice-Chairman Jim Gagliano, the president and COO of The Jockey Club. Rishi Persad, the moderator for the conference, then talked to an international panel about covering racing in the middle of a pandemic. The pre-recorded Zoom discussion included Francesca Cumani (ITV), Katherine Ford (Equidia/Sky Sports Racing), Rob Hyland (NBC Sports), Jason Richardson (Channel 7/, and Shigeru Suzuki (Japan Racing Association).

COVID-19 has rewritten the rules of spectator sports, meaning racing jurisdictions have had to adapt to this new landscape or risk fans disengaging with the sport. With many spectator sports barred, racing has been in the fortunate position of being able to continue behind closed doors in many places. The media covering racing has had to work to balance the escapism of sports with the reality of a world coping with major public health, social, and economic issues.

Additionally, media outlets have had to remain flexible and creative while also dealing with changes to media consumption preferences due to COVID-19 and the practical issues surrounding producing content in a safe manner.

All videos from the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities will be released on the IFHA’s YouTube channel, its website (, and its social media platforms. They will also be available as podcasts.

The first video, a panel discussion examining how to sustain the business of racing, as well as sports in general, in the midst of a pandemic and economic uncertainty, and the keynote address, have already been published.

The next video/podcast will be sent out Monday 12th October, and will feature a panel of trainers and jockeys discussing working in racing during a pandemic.

The first International Conference of Horseracing Authorities was organized and hosted by the Société d'Encouragement in Paris, France, on October 9, 1967. Since 1994, the annual conference has been organized by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities at France Galop. In 2019, the conference convened delegates from more than 50 different countries with a number of other racing executives and media members in attendance.
About IFHA

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its members are the national racing authorities across the globe which stage Thoroughbred races.

Major areas of the IFHA’s activities include:

    •           Making and amending the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (the IABRW)
    •           Policy development relating to welfare and safety of horses and riders
    •           International Race Planning and Grading (“black type”)
    •           World Rankings
    •           The fight against Equine Prohibited Substances and Practices
    •           Harmonization of Racing Rules
    •           Certification of IFHA Reference Labs
    •           Fostering commercial development of the racing industry globally

The IFHA is a foundation member with Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the International Horse Sports Confederation and is affiliated to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

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