Racing Victoria aims for fan attendance by July

Racing Victoria [RV] is hopeful fans will be allowed to return to racetracks as early as July, with strict social distancing measures expected to be implemented at meets around the state.

Speaking to RSN Radio on Thursday, Racing Victoria chief Giles Thompson said as long as the Victorian government's schedule for easing coronavirus restrictions is adhered to, it's "a possibility" that racing pundits could attend in as little as weeks.

But Thompson warned the health and safety of those involved in the operations side of racing -- from trainers, to stewards and staff -- was paramount, and RV would not jeopardise that just to bring in fans.

"The key, core part of that whole process is, we've got to where we are today because of the strict protocols we have around racing operations on the track," he said. 'Anything we do from a crowd perspective has to protect that core, those racing operations.

"We cannot put at risk those protocols so it's really important to work with the clubs as we get people coming back to the course, who are not necessarily essential to racing day in day out, that there is separation between those two groups.

"July sounds like a good time for that to begin to be happening but we've got a bit of work to do yet on the protocols around that and how you could separate the different groups on course.

"A key date for Victoria and releasing some of the protocols in Victoria is the 22nd of June and the Andrews government has announced some changes there."

Thompson's comments come just two days after Peter V'Landys of Racing New South Wales said his organisation was aiming for a similar date for crowds to return to tracks.

"I have said it in the NRL that we are looking at crowds being back on July 1 and that would apply to racing as well," V'landys told Racenet on Tuesday. "We are looking back bringing crowds back to racing, to some extent, and we are working on that at the moment.

"That would start with owners [returning to races], and that could be even before that (July 1)."

Meanwhile, Thompson also touched on the timing of the upcoming Spring Carnival as a whole, saying some meets could be pushed back due to a jam-packed sporting calendar in October. The AFL last week foreshadowed its Grand Final could be played on the same day as the Cox Plate.

He also said talks were "ongoing" as to any potential changes to prize money offered from those meets, given the current economic climate.

"Our board met on Tuesday - stakeholder meetings are happening every day," he told RSN. "They'll be ongoing for the next week and a half, two weeks I would think and we'll hope to make a decision and get some clarity for everyone right at the beginning of June or early June."