Thursday, September 24, 2020Contact: Andrew Chesser
IFHA Conference to be Held Virtually with a Focus on the Impact of COVID-19

In place of its traditional in-person meeting, the 54th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, organized by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), will be virtual in 2020. The conference is typically held in Paris, France, the day after the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), but in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will instead be conducted as a series of videos released during the first two weeks of October.

The conference will feature a sequence of pre-recorded Zoom discussions with prominent racing executives, participants, and stakeholders who have been conducting horseracing during the pandemic as well as insights from other leading sports figures.

“While we will certainly miss having everyone in Paris this year, it was clear that the safest course of action was to host our annual conference virtually as a result of COVID-19,” said IFHA Chairman Louis Romanet. “The pandemic has affected every aspect of life, and we felt it was important to focus on it as the key topic for the conference in this unique year. We hope to return to our traditional format in 2021.”

The key note address will be delivered by Pete Giorgio and Alan Switzer from Deloitte, the largest global professional services network.  

Giorgio, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, leads the company’s United States sports practice, serving multiple sports clients including the United States Golf Association, National Basketball Association (NBA), United States Tennis Association, and United States Olympic Committee.

He is the co-author of Deloitte’s 2020 report Games without fans: How sports organizations can thrive now, and in the long term as well as the co-author of the April 2020 report Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on telecommunications, media, and entertainment organizations: Sports subsector.

Switzer is a director in the Sports Business Group, Deloitte’s global centre of excellence in sport business. He has worked extensively in horseracing for over 15 years, including producing multiple Economic Impact studies on racing—notably in respective of British and Irish racing.

They will discuss the findings from Deloitte’s research and experience into the impact of COVID-19 on the sports sector, including the practical steps that sports organizations can take to adapt to the “new normal”, opportunities arising from the challenging circumstances and how that advice can be tailored to horseracing organizations.

Additionally, Rishi Persad will moderate four panels featuring industry members from across the globe who will discuss the impact of the pandemic on horseracing both regionally and internationally. Sessions will examine sustaining the business of racing and sports in the midst of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty; adapting the broadcast, production, and media experience to a COVID-19 racing and sporting landscape; participating and working in racing during a global pandemic; and preparing for and sustaining racing post-COVID 19.

Among the panelists scheduled to take part are: Charlie Appleby (trainer), Victoria Carter (New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing), Stephen Cook (IMG), Francesca Cumani (ITV), Olivier Delloye (France Galop), William Derby (York Racecourse), Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges (Hong Kong Jockey Club), Horacio Esposito (OSAF & Latin American Racing Channel), Drew Fleming (Breeders’ Cup), Katherine Ford, (Equidia), Andrew Harding (Hong Kong Jockey Club), Rob Hyland (NBC Sports), Brian Kavanagh (Horse Racing Ireland), Ger Lyons (trainer), Annamarie Phelps (British Horseracing Authority), Zac Purton (jockey), Jason Richardson (Ch7/, Shigeru Suzuki (Japan Racing Association), and Chris Waller (trainer).

The videos from the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities will be posted on the IFHA’s website and social media platforms starting the 5th of October. 

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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