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No Racing In Italy As Strike Continues

Tuesday, 21st October 2008

Also in Europe, "no racing has taken place in Italy since October 7 as members of the nation's racing fraternity have demonstrated their anger at funding issues that have led to negotiations with the Italian government," reported racingpost.co.uk. With 3 Gr1 events lost over the past 2 weekends, an 18-person delegation from the racing industry is due to meet today with Gianni Letta (parliamentary undersecretary to prime minister Silvio Berlusconi) & Minister Of Agriculture Luca Zaia. Letta has promised the "establishment of 2 working groups of civil servants: 1 charged with considering betting questions & the other the reorganisation of the industry". However the racing delegation "wants a reduction in the take-out from betting & a reform of Unire" (Italy's semi-governmental ruling body for both thoroughbred racing & trotting). Meanwhile Unire president Goffredo Sottile warned last week that "there would have to be further cuts in prize-money": falling turnover & the effects of the strike "mean that prizes will be slashed by a further 15%, which will be on top of the reductions which Unire imposed on September 1". As a result, prizes "will have fallen by more than 40% this year & all programmes have had 1 race lopped off their original schedule".

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