27 June 2012

La dolce vita turns sour for doomed Italian racing

Italian turf's best export, Frankie Dettori, went home in 2009 to
win the Italian Derby on Master GB at Rome's Capannelle track.
Racing in Italy, "beset by deep-rooted financial problems, is set to come under the direct control of the government before plans for a possible privatisation can be enacted" reported racingpost.com. Treasury minister Vittorio Grilli announced that Assi (which took over from Unire as Italian racing's independent governing body earlier this year) "will be disbanded and the Ministry Of Agriculture will take control of running racing, while the customs agency is to oversee the betting industry". Tote betting is declining by 25% year on year and prize-money in Italy is down by 40% for 2012 "as the industry lurches from crisis to crisis". No date has been set for when the Ministry Of Agriculture will take control "but it is believed they will be in place before Guido Melzi d'Eril, president of the Federation Of Racecourses, delivers a report into regulatory reform of the racing and betting industries. His report is due to be finished next month." In January, Italian racing journalist, Dr Carlo Zuccoli, told The Guardian:
"The betting model, through which money comes back to racing, is broken, and it is effectively bankrupt. As it stands, every race that is run is being run at a loss. Nobody in Italy has any money at the moment and the new minister has already made it clear that there will be nothing more for the sport. The only way forward is to admit that we need a new structure for funding racing and to start again with a clean slate. If we try to carry on as things are, racecourses will close and racing will not survive in Italy."
--  with breedingracing.com

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