French racing suffers setback after government closes tracks in Paris and North-East until June 2

French racing suffers setback in return from coronavirus shutdown after government closes tracks in red-zone Paris and North-East until June 2

  • Fench racing in turmoil after the sport was suddenly halted in its key regions
  • The French government stopped any racing in Paris and the north on Tuesday
  • There will be no racing at least until the next review of the transition on June 2
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

French racing was thrown into confusion on Tuesday night after being told to shut down its Paris tracks, underlining the fragile and precarious nature of professional sport as it attempts to return during the Covid-19 shutdown.

Paris has been a hotspot for coronavirus infections and is designated a Red Zone by the French government, but it had been cleared for racing by the authorities and Paris police.

There will now no longer be racing at Longchamp, where the sport resumed in France on May 11, Chantilly, Saint-Cloud and jumps track Auteuil, at least until the French government’s next review of the transition out of lockdown on June 2.

There will be no more racing at Longchamp, where the sport resumed in France on May 11

Racing can continue at tracks in Green Zones. These are in more rural locations with lower infection rates and include those in south-west France and Normandy racecourse Deauville.

Olivier Delloye, chief executive of France Galop, did not know what had changed the government direction. 

But before racing returned it was rumoured that leading figures in football had raised objections after Ligue 1 was shut down for the season.

Asked if lobbying from other sports could have been influential, Delloye said: ‘Perhaps. I cannot tell. That might be the case.

‘It is really hard to understand the rationale behind this decision.

‘It is totally in contradiction with the decision that was made only 10 days ago and we do not know why.

‘We are in the process of relocating all the fixtures which were set to take place at Parisian racetracks.

‘It is frustrating as everything has gone well since the resumption of racing last week, but if we look at this situation as a glass half full, we can say racing in France is not jeopardised. We can organise racing at many racetracks and won’t lose any fixtures.’

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