Source AP ©

Pigeon racers want their activity to be officially classified as sport

Pigeon racers claim for their activity be officially classified as a sport.

The Belford Racing Pigeon Club, in northern England, hopes the British monarch, the patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, will intervene in a dispute that could see them pay millions of pounds (euros; dollars) in taxes, chairman Eric Sim said.

Racers, known as "pigeon fanciers," house their birds in sheds - buildings the British government now wants to tax, beginning in April. Sports clubs can get relief, but pigeon racing is not classified as a sport, which will leave racers with bills to pay.

"Pigeon racing has been recognized as a sport for well over 100 years and this latest turn of events will cause many clubs to struggle to make ends meet," Sim said.

Local representative Geoff O'Connell said he wanted to raise the matter with British tax authorities.

"During World War II, owners gave more than a quarter of a million pigeons to our defense forces and they were used most effectively to carry messages from battlefronts and to save lives from sinking ships and downed aircraft," O'Connell said.

"It is little to ask the government to show some sympathy towards this group of people by reversing this latest decision and recognizing this activity is a sport"