THE committee that runs Musselburgh racecourse meets on Monday in an attempt to avert a possible closure of the track.

The course is currently operating on a temporary licence from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) due concerns with the Musselburgh's governance.

This is the second consecutive three-month licence issued by the BHA and is due to expire on June 30.

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Musselburgh holds five fixtures before then and is scheduled to run a further 13 days of racing for the remainder of 2017.

Musselburgh is managed by the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee (MJRC), which was established in 1994 and is made up of four council representatives and three representatives from the LRS.

There is claim and counter-claim but the crux of the issue appears to be a breakdown in relations between the two groups, with the LRS issuing two votes of no-confidence against the chairman of the MJRC, Councillor John Caldwell, to facilitate his removal.

There is also ill-feeling among the workforce who have themselves issued two votes of no-confidence regarding Mr Caldwell and also a threat of industrial action.

John Prideaux, senior racecourse representative on the MJRC, has asked Kezia Dugdale, the local MSP and leader of the Scottish Labour Party, to intervene.

Looking ahead to the MJRC meeting, the first since September, he said: “Hopefully on Monday the budget for 2017/18, which should have been approved before now, will be approved and staff remunerations for the same period will also be approved.

"For the last four years, payment of staff and their annual pay rises have never been handled in a timely manner.

“That’s laid firmly at the door of the chairman. Provided we agree a budget and resolve the staff pay then I would hope it will result in the BHA being more satisfied with the governance than they have been.”

The MJRC dissolves when the local elections take place next month and a new committee will be formed. “I hope the BHA will appreciate there will be a new four members from East Lothian Council,” added Prideaux. “It may take time for them to get up to speed and that they will give us some leeway.”

Mr Caldwell greeted what he said was news of Monday’s meeting by saying: “If you’ve had that confirmed, that’s good. I’ve been trying to have meetings of the MJRC but Mr Prideaux keeps saying we’re not coming unless you meet our demands.”

Mr Caldwell dismissed possible industrial action by staff as “scaremongering” and said of the BHA’s intervention that “they didn’t give us the full licence [which] was a result of Mr Prideaux, who wrote to the BHA without authority from the MJRC, saying the MJRC does not have governance and he wanted an investigation.

“When I challenged him on that he denied it. We met with the BHA and they confirmed it was as a result of his email. The BHA wanted sight of authorised accounts and then it would review the situation.

"So that is the issue that will come up at the meeting. But the future of the racecourse is safe.”

Mr Caldwell is standing as an independent for Musselburgh in the East Lothian Council elections but said he had “not had any thoughts” regarding a possible return to the MJRC should he be re-elected by the voters.

However, Prideaux said: “Two of the four councillors are standing for re-election. In theory, they could be appointed by East Lothian Council to the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee.

“In the light of experience over the last four years I feel such a move would be very foolhardy.”