The controversial host decision for the next America’s Cup has been postponed in order to have more time to find the right venue.
All three international venues – Cork in Ireland, a Spanish national bid and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia – remain on the table along with Auckland, which has received late private funding that is being considered.
The venue announcement was supposed to be on September 17th, but there were complications in getting the massive deal carried out with more details required.
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“For the benefit of both the 37th America’s Cup and its eventual venue, we’d rather take our time to make the right decision rather than make a rash decision,” said Aaron Young, Commodore, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron , with The Relay making the decision together with the defender Team New Zealand.
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You haven’t posted a deadline, but you want the process to be completed as soon as possible, taking into account the needs of the potential challenger fleet.
Team New Zealand said the process was made difficult by the difficulties of the global Covid pandemic, which made it impossible for team members to visit the venue options.
The original plan was to hold key face-to-face meetings to give the team the final feedback to respond to recommendations from Origin Sports Group, the UK company that oversees the international bidding process. But that wasn’t possible.
With a new election for MIQ spots opening next week, Team New Zealand will be applying for positions there and looking to recruit key local personnel in Europe and Saudi Arabia, likely Chief Operations Officer Kevin Shoebridge and Legal Counsel Russell Green.
The holding process was further complicated by the late arrival of a letter from wealthy listener Mark Dunphy this week with his plans – seemingly no details yet – to put on another defense after the success of Auckland 2021, where Team New Zealand defeated the Italian team Home finance Luna Rossa is supposed to keep the Auld Mug.
Team New Zealand and the squadron said, “This extension of the process will also give Mr. Dunphy more time to answer the questions we asked him last month.”
Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton believes they are still in a good position to close the right deal.
“The basic fact is that we have a number of outstanding potential venues that are literally on the table, all with strong and competitive offers on the table and determined to finalize deals in the weeks ahead – this is a good place to definitely be there, ”said Dalton.
“It is frustrating that we did not reach our agreement with a venue by the scheduled date of the 17th in New Zealand as previously suggested, which has made the process more difficult.
“As we’ve always said, unlikely as it seemed, Auckland was never off the table for obvious reasons.
“Now that we finally have an 11th hour letter from Mr. Dunphy, it would be remiss on our part not to investigate the feasibility of an event in Auckland and whether it can in fact be fully and fully funded locally. So far there is no evidence that this is the case. “
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the door was still open for an Auckland regatta, but the government’s contribution would be no more than the offer already rejected.
Stuart Nash, the minister for economic and regional development, told Stuff that the crown negotiator has kept in touch with Team New Zealand since the joint bid was rejected in June.
“It was made clear that we were open to resuming discussions,” said Nash.
He said the Crown Negotiator was not involved in brokering negotiations between Team New Zealand and Dunphy, but had communicated with both of them and made it clear that “we are ready to meet all parties if they have a proposal”.
“We have said since the end of the exclusive negotiation phase, when the previous offer expired, that we are still interested in hosting the event here.”
NATALIE CROCKETT / STUFF
Thousands of fans in the America’s Cup fan village react to Team NZ’s victory.
The delay is a grace period for Cork’s bid that was apparently sunk when Irish politicians questioned the financial worth and sanity of hosting the America’s Cup.
The current Irish request for more time – presumably six months – to prepare their bid is not feasible and they need to speed up their process if they are to stay in the mix.
With the Irish application supposed to be on its feet on Thursday, there has been backlash from business people and sports fans in the southern area of the country where the application is based.
That sentiment also applied to expats, notably Marcus Spillane, a New York-based vice president of World Sailing, the world governing body for sport, originally from Cork.
In an article in the Irish examiner, Spillane criticized the government for “a spectacular lack of vision” for failing to move into the next stage of the bidding process – an eight-week window of exclusive negotiations.
“Ireland will never host an Olympics or a FIFA World Cup,” he said.
“The America’s Cup is a global sporting event. We came straight to the finish and then decided not to take the extra step. It shows a lack of imagination and ambition.”
“I understand the need to get value for money, but let’s get that straight: you get an opportunity like this every 15 to 20 years, and when you do, you have to seize the opportunity.”