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Melb Clubs Resist Immediate Merger Call

Friday, 31st July 2009

The response from Melbourne's 3 metropolitan race clubs to the call from Victorian Racing Minster Rob Hulls's for them to merge "is a united one: wait for the report," noted The Herald-Sun. Hulls wrote to the chairmen of the clubs last week "arguing a single-club model was the way forward", emphasising it "made sense that the clubs merge to streamline administrations & save money & accusing them of "pussy-footing around". In support, Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners' Association chairman David Moodie yesterday applauded Hulls & declared: "He's on the right track. I've been saying it for years." Moodie added the 3 clubs must fully support the recommendations of the coming Maxsted report (commissioned by the clubs into their future & expected to be released within a fortnight) & summed up: "They have to be legitimate about it, not offer quasi support, then put it in the too-hard basket." In response, Victoria Racing Club chairman Rod Fitzroy said the VRC would "fully consider" the Maxsted recommendations, but was not interested in responding to Hulls's push for mergers; he retorted: "We've already committed to engage with Racing Victoria & the Minister on the report, we owe Lindsay (Maxsted) nothing less. But we are certainly not going to be jumping into any major decisions without proper consideration of all factors." Moonee Valley Racing Club chairman Bob Scarborough & Melbourne Racing Club chief executive Warran Brown said they would "also be guided by the report & not influenced by Hulls," with Brown noting: "In the experience I've had with mergers in business, you only do it if you're sure it's a viable, commercial decision. Let's wait & see what the report says."

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