Monday, October 05, 2020Contact: Andrew Chesser
Virtual 2020 IFHA Conference Commences by Examining Impact of COVID-19

The 54th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, organized by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), kicked off today in its new virtual format. The first video in a multi-part series began by focusing on sustaining the business of horseracing, as well as sports in general, in the midst of a pandemic and economic uncertainty.
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.
After IFHA Vice-Chairman Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, who is the CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, read a welcome letter on behalf of IFHA Chairman Louis Romanet, the initial session was introduced by IFHA Vice-Chairman Brian Kavanagh. The first panel, which was moderated by Rishi Persad, featured a pre-recorded Zoom discussion between Shannon Bishop Arvin (Keeneland Association), Stephen Cook, (IMG), Olivier Delloye (France Galop), William Derby (York Racecourse), and Andrew Harding (Hong Kong Jockey Club).
The global panel of racing and sports executives shared the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to date on the horse racing industry. The speakers discussed the ongoing challenges presented by conducting racing behind closed doors, coping with the restricted movement of jockeys and other racing participants, and constantly adjusting to changing business models. They also focused on the importance of strong government engagement and relationships as well as ways the sport can ensure it retains relevance against the backdrop of a challenging global economic outlook.
Starting today, the 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 next video/podcast will be sent out tomorrow, Tuesday 6th October, and will feature the keynote address delivered by Pete Giorgio and Alan Switzer from Deloitte, the largest global professional services network.
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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