ARF General Assembly Press Release

Asian Racing Federation (ARF) Secretary General, Andrew Harding, provided an update on the activities of the ARF Secretariat during the past 20 months since the 37th Asian Racing Conference (ARC) was staged in Seoul, Korea in May 2018.

Leading into the 38th ARC at Cape Town in South Africa, significant progress had been made across a number of areas, including International Horse Movement, Anti-Illegal Betting, ARF’s global impact, the Social and Economic Study, and its ongoing advocacy and assistance to members.

The ARF is dedicated to facilitating the movement of horses internationally and during the past 12 months, racing’s formal public private partnership with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has been strengthened with a new five-year agreement ratified by the International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) general assembly in Hong Kong.

On the subject of African Horse Sickness and its impact on movement restrictions of South African horses internationally, Mr. Harding was pleased to report that two major studies have been completed - an economic assessment of the vaccine market and a technical review of candidate vaccines, following which, seed funding was approved for the development of the inactivated DIVA vaccine. Furthermore, the ARF’s technical adviser Dr. Patricia Ellis is currently in Cape Town to provide technical assistance in preparation of the April European Union (EU) audit.

The Federation's Anti-Illegal Betting Task Force (AIBTF) published its first White Paper “Illegal Betting in an Asian Context” in late 2018 and is currently working on its second White Paper, which will focus on good practices to combat this scourge and be published later this year.

The Asian Pattern Committee (APC) is responsible for black type quality control within ARF member jurisdictions and assists members with advice on planning for developing new international events. Since the 37th ARC, the APC has revised its ground rules for the promotion and demotion of races and assisted members on several issues.

The ARF’s global impact during the period has been far reaching and included support for the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) with the IFHA Reference Laboratory Program and the completion of detailed technical work by the Gene Doping Control Subcommittee to make gene editing and genome editing prohibited practices under the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering. And on the issue of harmonisation of racing rules, remarkable progress has been made on achieving a uniform global approach to deciding on protests/objections in races. The ARF is lending its full support to the current IFHA Governance Review.

The ARF is also committed to providing every assistance to its members. One important initiative in this regard will be the first formal study of the Social and Economic Impact of ARF Racing. Another is the assistance provided by the ARF Secretariat to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing in relation to the New Zealand Government’s consideration of legislative changes to the structure of wagering and racing, in response to the report from John Messara.

Mr. Harding confirmed that during a meeting in Cape Town on Tuesday, 18 February 2020, the ARF Executive Council held elections for the offices of Chairman and two Vice-Chairs. These positions take effect from the conclusion of this month’s 38th ARC to the conclusion of the 39th ARC in Australia in 2022.

Election of Chairman, Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges
Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, was re-elected as the ARF Chairman.

Election of Vice-Chair, Mr Greg Nichols
Mr Greg Nichols, Chairman of the Racing Australia, was re-elected as one of two ARF Vice-Chairs.

Election of Vice-Chair, Mr Masayuki Goto
Mr Masayuki Goto, President and CEO of the Japan Racing Association, was elected as the other Vice-Chair.

Mr. Harding announced that the Chinese Equestrian Association was granted ARF Associate Membership status, with immediate effect, by the ARF General Assembly at its meeting on 18 February 2020.

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