Greyhound racing is in danger of becoming a sport of the past, but there is life left in the old dog yet, according to newly formed group GOBATA (Greyhound Owners’ Breeders’ And Trainers’ Association).
This group of enthusiastic and passionate greyhound lovers are determined to save the sport and restore it to its former glory, with the founding of the first ever Premier League for greyhounds – a spectacle which will be televised live.
Greyhound racing, one of the nation’s long-standing sports, is in danger. For the last 30 years it has been in decline with stadia closing and visitor numbers falling.
Open race competitions remain one of the biggest draws in the sport, and newly formed pressure group GOBATA believes that there is huge unexplored potential in greyhound racing as a team game.
Consequently, the inaugural ‘BETDAQ Premier League Greyhounds’ will kick off at Doncaster Greyhound Stadium on 16 November 2011, with live TV coverage on Sky Sport. Six teams will compete in a qualifying event to gain access to the inaugural BETDAQ Premier League Greyhounds.
Two further qualifiers will take place at Yarmouth Stadium on 3 December with a bumper night’s racing to determine the formation of the first ever Premier League for greyhounds.
This is a new concept in greyhound racing with groups of up to five trainers or owners coming together to form a team. All the qualifiers and the four rounds of the Premier League itself will be televised live on Sky channel 433 Freeview. Yarmouth Stadium is host not only to a dual qualifying session on 3 December but will also stage two rounds of the Premier League itself in January.
Charlie Lister and Nick Savva, two legends of the sport, with Lister having won a record six Greyhound Derbys and no fewer than eleven East Anglian Derbys, and Savva winning four Greyhound Derbys, including a record three in a row, have joined together with team captain John Coleman to form a team.
Charlie Lister says: “BETDAQ Premier League Greyhounds will take racing into a new era. It is a unique concept and competition which gives trainers everywhere the opportunity to compete at the highest level.”
Nick Savva says: “The team element, whereby we can form teams amongst ourselves, is a brilliant idea. This is a serious attempt, a shot in the arm to revive greyhound racing. It will be a tremendous night at Yarmouth on 3 December.”