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    Anger reaches boiling point over cancelled meeting Anger reaches boiling point over cancelled meeting
    FRUSTATION has turned to anger as a result of the latest development involving the embattled South Australian Harness Racing Club. Facing pressure from two... Anger reaches boiling point over cancelled meeting

    FRUSTATION has turned to anger as a result of the latest development involving the embattled South Australian Harness Racing Club.

    Facing pressure from two fronts, the club’s committee has caused angst among participants by postponing the Special General Meeting, which was scheduled for May 9.

    The meeting stems from a push from a group of members who have “lost faith in the committee”.

    Led by Tony Copeland, the group submitted a letter signed by 40 members to the club on April 18, which they say fits within the club’s constitution via clause 35.5.

    As such, the committee has a legal obligation to host the meeting within 21 days, during which time the members will call upon the committee to temporarily hand the ‘reins’ to Harness Racing SA while an independent auditor investigates the club’s finances and management.

    According to Copeland the committee is also required to give members 21 days notice of the meeting date.

    The 21 day factor has caused confusion given the first part states the committee has 21 days to respond.

    Add the 21 days notice to members to prepare for the meeting and the logical answer would be the committee has 42 days to deal with the matter.

    Working under the 21 days to host a meeting, the club set May 9 as its date which it announced via a press release last Friday.

    Since then the committee has realised the time frame has not allowed members the 21 days notice, which has led to a time change.

    As such, the Special General Meeting has been put back to May 30, meaning the committee is utilising the 42 days.

    “The committee is not shying away from its responsibility,” club President Richard Miller said. “But rather it is making sure we follow the process as dictated by the constitution to allow members the designated time frame of 21 days notice.”

    While the debate over the interpretation of the constitution is argued by the opposing parties, harness racing licence holders continue to feel like collateral damage as the industry suffers.

    Whether they are on team committee or team members is irrelevant – trainers, drivers and owners are united in wanting answers and ultimately a swift conclusion to the “industry destroying crap”.

    “It is beyond a joke,” leading horseman Ryan Hryhorec said. “By putting this meeting back as the two groups argue, harness racing will keep going backwards and dying off.

    “They set a date, so stick to it so this can get over and done with.

    “Until this is sorted out the other half of it all, which is the board bringing races back to Globe Derby, can’t be fixed.

    “Now we have to wait until the end of the month for this to be done which means the racing calendar for June will be put out so we can kiss that month good bye as well.”

    Another trainer who wishes to remain unnamed believes the committee/member battle and change of date should have no impact on racing.

    “I can’t see how it makes any change because the club didn’t cancel racing at Globe Derby…the board did,” the trainer said. “The club’s members fighting among themselves is irrelevant really.

    “Yes the club needs to turnaround its operations, but not racing there doesn’t change that and only causes damage to the industry which may never be fixed.

    “The board can return racing to Globe Derby whenever they want while still trying to get matters resolved which would be better for the industry.

    “If we lose June as well it will be a major blow from which we will never recover.”

    Race meetings being removed from Globe Derby is part of the club’s battle with HRSA.

    To add a degree of background, HRSA gave the committee an ultimatum – either they stood down by April 5 or racing would cease at Globe Derby.

    The committee chose to stand its ground with the governing body transferring meetings to other venue as of April 9.

    “The Board of Harness Racing SA has today advised the Committee of the South Australian Harness Racing Club, the principal club responsible for racing at Globe Derby Park, that it had lost confidence in the SAHRC Committee’s ability to properly oversee and administer the affairs of the club and harness racing at the state’s premier track,” HRSA’s statement read.

    “In consequence, HRSA has requested that the current SAHRC Committee resign, to be replaced by a new interim Committee to HRSA’s satisfaction.

    “HRSA also hold significant concerns regarding the formidable operating losses reported by the club over the past decade.”

    HRSA has declared meetings will be “suspended indefinitely” from the track until its demands are met.

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    Paul Courts

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