THE new operators of Musselburgh Racecourse will be announced on Tuesday as the row over who foots the legal cost of appointing them rumbles on.

East Lothian Council has been overseeing the hunt for a third-party operator since an independent review of the course’s previous management committee raised concerns about its future.

However, a £300,000 legal bill run up during the new operator procurement process has been at the centre of a row between members of Musselburgh Racing Associated Committee (MRAC), which was established to take over the management of the course and appoint the new operator.

And as the committee prepared to reveal its preferred winner of the new contract to run the racecourse, tensions spilled over at a meeting last week.

Ray Green, a director of Lothians Racing Syndicate, brought a motion demanding independent legal advice over who should foot the bill be sought after East Lothian Council charged it to the racecourse.

But his motion was defeated after the four elected council members on the committee outvoted Mr Green and his fellow syndicate representative Robert Miller Bakewell.

The decision led to Mr Green warning the syndicate would invoke a legal clause to require an arbitrator to be brought in to resolve the issue, which could end up in front of the Law Society of Scotland.

Mr Green had called for an independent legal adviser to be brought in to review the “application of legal costs occurred through the tender process and its implementation to the racecourse”.

His motion came amid claims that racecourse auditors had, in a draft report, recommended the move; however, the committee was told by council legal advisor Carlo Grilli that a final audit report which would be presented to the committee next week no longer carried the requirement.

During a heated meeting in which the clerk had to repeatedly call for Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, MRAC chair, to be “shown respect”, Mr Green’s motion was defeated.

Mr Green told the committee that the syndicate would be writing to them demanding an independent arbitrator is called in.

MRAC is expected to announce its preferred new operator at a meeting at the course on Tuesday.