GRNSW officials were caught completely off guard with the announcement, arguing its 14 other TAB clubs had all agreed to the new models.
It went a step further and insisted there needed to be an assessment of all finances at the club, which has become synonymous with the sport and featured prominently on The Footy Show during its heyday.
“The decision is unlawful and contrary to the club’s constitution and, as far as I am concerned, GRNSW will do everything in its power to continue racing at Dapto, including [Thursday] night,” GRNSW chief executive Tony Mestrov said.
“The Dapto Agricultural and Horticultural Society Ltd committee has made a decision behind closed doors without consultation with members or participants – and the Dapto community.
“The sudden decision has been made in the middle of standard negotiations for a new funding agreement – and comes after a request from GRNSW for financial records and explanation of certain figures.
“The Dapto Agricultural and Horticultural Society Ltd committee has failed to comply with GRNSW’s lawful request for financial records – and we will be making a further announcement on this [on Thursday].
“GRNSW had sought clarification on these accounts, in particular figures listed separately for each of the Dapto Agricultural and Horticultural Society Ltd and Dapto Greyhound Racing Club.
“GRNSW believes the request for clarity and scrutiny of these accounts is the trigger for [Wednesday’s] blindsiding of GRNSW and the industry’s participants.”
The Herald has been told by multiple sources a Greyhound Racing NSW-driven plan in May to move Dapto’s traditional race night away from Thursday as part of a statewide calendar shake-up led to a dispute with the club.
The DAHS said there was a need to build recreational facilities for the community’s families, but it’s unclear exactly how they plan to use the showground, which is located adjacent to the Princes Highway.
It said sustaining racing at the track “couldn’t be justified”.
“We have a heavy heart that this iconic greyhound track has closed, but the board has an obligation to act in the best interests of the society and the community,” DAHS chair Noel Leslie said. “We are looking at delivering new opportunities for our community and the generations to come.”
It claimed GRNSW’s proposed three-year funding agreement was a “financially damaging situation”.
Dapto Dogs employs about 15 casual people and the society said it would take steps to support staff and identify redeployment opportunities.
Mestrov is due to front a press conference at Dapto on Thursday morning.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.