RACING could resume behind closed doors in France next month.
French racing’s governing body, France Galop, have earmarked 11 May as a potential start date.
The sport was staged behind closed doors for a short while last month before it was suspended on 17 March.
France Galop were initially aiming to race from mid-April, but following the French lockdown extension until May they have had to revise their plans.
A statement from France Galop said: “Before horse racing was suspended, the industry had shown its ability to organise meetings behind closed doors whilst maintaining an excellent level of risk prevention of spreading the virus.
“In the context of racing behind closed doors, access to the racecourse had been strictly limited to a minimum of professionals who are essential for the organisation of a race meeting.
Don’t miss out on all the best of Sun Racing
“Also, since the beginning of the lockdown, training activities at the different training centres in Paris and in the provinces, have been carried out in the strictest conformity with the instructions and rules of social distancing.”
Funding for the sport is one issue that is under discussion, with PMU cafes, the main betting locations in the country, closed and unlikely to open when initial restrictions are lifted.
The statement continued: “According to the President’s latest speech, it is however understood that a return to horse racing in France will not mean that all the PMU betting points will be operational. Only a part of them (tobacco shops) will be operational, which means reduced revenues for the industry.
“The implications of this configuration are currently being examined and discussed with the public authorities. Next Tuesday, the presidents of the parent companies and of the PMU will meet with Didier Guillaume, the Minister for Agriculture and Gerald Darmanin, the Minister of Public action and Accounts.
“In the meantime, France Galop and LeTROT teams are finalising a racing program of major meetings for the month of May, from the date of the re-start, as decided in agreement with our supervisory authorities.
“This racing calendar will be published as soon as possible so that racing professionals can get their horses ready for when racing resumes.”
The BHA announced a six-week shutdown of British racing last month, due to expire on 1 May.
However, that potential start date will have to be pushed back if the government extend the nationwide lockdown this week.