The Federation of British Greyhounds Owners Associations (FBGOA) have consistently refrained from entering a public debate over the Federation’s role in the greyhound industry.

However, a series of attacks by the Greyhound Trainers Association (GTA), supported by a lack of accuracy and impartiality in certain sections of the media, have forced a change of policy.

First and foremost, we remind the industry that the FBGOA was considered to be the most appropriate vehicle to represent greyhound owners in the Donoughue report.

The mechanism for running an organisation, whose members are primarily involved as amateurs and enthusiasts, will always be challenging. Indeed, we note the traditional lack of participation among GTA members was one of the main reasons that GOBATA were able to infiltrate the organisation – and this was a trade body representing industry professionals.

Despite the problems, the FBGOA membership runs into thousands through a cross section of associated owners associations.

All participating associations are democratic and it was through a free vote that the current FBGOA board was selected by its associate members.

Indeed, FBGOA chairman John Haynes was personally asked to take on the role by the organisation’s ex-leader the late Stuart Locke-Hart – with that position subsequently endorsed by the association representatives.

The FBGOA has always fought for an additional seat for a trainer’s representative on the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. This was true even when the GTA were prepared to abandon owner representation.

The FBGOA representative has fought equally hard for trainers’, as well as owners’ rights.

Examples include Mr Haynes’ full blooded commitment to enhance the trainer’s assistance fund which has led to significant grants and hardship payments for many dozens of trainers.

In addition, Mr Haynes has sought and received significant financial support for trainers following the closure of various tracks.

Prize money is of mutual benefit for both owners and trainers, and Mr Haynes has successfully convinced his colleagues of the need for an ever increasing proportion of the limited funds – most notably through the Owners Bonus Series.

The Federation is acutely aware of the limitations of industry funding, but unlike the GTA, is does not endorse confrontation, intimidation or blackmail.

We have already seen sponsorship lost by the inept actions of the GOBATA, and it is of huge concern that strike action is once again being urged by the GTA executive.

We believe that such confrontation is both counterproductive and potentially damaging and we ask all owners to refrain from participating.

We look forward to the day when the FBGOA board member is able to sit alongside a respected GTA representative on the GBGB and BGRF and support each others’ cause for the betterment of greyhound racing.

FBGOA Management Committee