UK-based racecourse operator Arena Racing Company (ARC) recently announced the permanent closure of the Belle Vue Stadium greyhound racing venue. According to the operator, there is “no longer a business case” to keep the site operating.
Racing at the Manchester venue was postponed on June 10—a week after its return after the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdown. The ARC said it was “simply unethical” to operate fixtures behind closed doors.
After conducting a consultation over the venue’s future, the operator decided to close the stadium and make all the staff employed at the site redundant effective immediately. ARC added that the site depends heavily on attendance, hospitality, and catering. The pandemic and national lockdown negatively affected the venue, with racing behind closed doors unable to sustain the business.
Because it remains uncertain when the crowds will be allowed to return to live sports venues, the ARC explained that it was left with no choice but to close down the stadium.
“The closure of Belle Vue has been an incredibly difficult one to make, especially given the history associated with the stadium, but our consultation on options moving forward could not see a manner in which the business could support itself,” Mark Spincer, ARC racing division director, said.
“As stated previously, the effects of the national lockdown, alongside the significant uncertainty over whn, and in what manner, crowds may be able to return has had a huge impact on Belle Vue in particular, given its reliance on public attendance,” he added.
The ARC would continue providing welfare support to Belle Vue trainers not currently racing at other stadia until the end of September, Spincer said. In addition, they will also assist on any homing requirements for greyhounds during that period.
“It goes without saying that we are very grateful to all the staff at Belle Vue and everyone associated to the site for their hard work and loyalty over the years and throughout this process,” Spincer said.