This week organisers of this year’s cancelled CLA Game Fair announced a significant improvement on the refunds offered to exhibitors who were due to participate in the event due to be held at Harewood House before this summer’s persistent rain forced the cancellation.

Following a reappraisal of their financial position, the organisers are now offering exhibitors affected a choice of an immediate 50% refund off their 2007 stand fees or 40% now and a 20% discount on comparable stand space booked for 2008.

Originally in the weeks after the cancellation, the Game Fair organisers proposed to offer just 20% off of stand space booked at next year’s show at Blenheim Palace.

The announcement follows discussions with a cross-section of exhibitors. Widespread criticism over the original proposals led to the formation of the Game Fair Action Group which threatened to launch a legal test case in order to force a better deal for the hundreds of rural businesses affected.

In a statement sent to www.shootingtimes.co.uk, the organisers addressed the criticism leveled at them over the past few weeks.

They said: “It has been with enormous regret the CLA has received a great deal of criticism for the initial offer made to exhibitors with many believing the Game Fair has always returned a large profit to their parent company.

This however is not the case.

Some years back as the show was growing in significance and the costs significantly increased to mount what had become a world class event, the CLA agreed the driving force behind the event would not be profit but to provide the best possible platform for the countryside and country sports.

Since then there have been years when available funds have been greatly stretched – 2001 the foot and mouth year when the show had to relocate to keep it running to the relief of many exhibitors, and 2005 with the initial costs of the new site at Belvoir Castle, featuring amongst some of the most expensive years.

The CLA has always met any shortfalls as indeed they are on this occasion, but this does help to explain the dilemma the association found itself in when it was forced unexpectedly to cancel the show.”

David Hough, director of the CLA Game Fair, added: “We have been carefully listening to our exhibitors while at the same time undertaking the financial restructure. We naturally feel for our exhibitors greatly regarding the effect that the cancellation had.

We have always wanted to do the best by everyone so we are very pleased we have been able to improve significantly the refund to exhibitors. We now look forward to putting this year behind us and with our exhibitors ensure that the 50th anniversary CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace is an outstanding success for everyone.”