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Another Chance for Cork Harbour & The America's Cup as Venue Timeline Decision is Extended?

16th September 2021

A statement issued tonight by the 37th America’s Cup (AC37) selection committee of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) together with Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) says it intends to extend the timeline for its venue selection. It's a development that opens the door again for the Cork Harbour bid that appeared dead in the water just 24 hours ago.

The full statement reads: 

Following a very close 37th America’s Cup (AC37) Host Venue selection process consisting of three compelling and professional international proposals, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) together with Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), announced today that they are extending the selection period for the shortlisted offshore venues to continue to work through final details and provide further information required for their respective bids.

Opposed to a rushed decision

RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said: “For the benefit of both the 37th America’s Cup and the eventual host venue, we would rather allow some more time now so we make the right decision as opposed to a rushed decision.”

ETNZ and RNZYS believe it is both prudent and responsible to extend the deadline in which the offshore venues can continue to progress negotiations after Covid lockdown in New Zealand has made it impossible for ETNZ team members to visit the venues. It was originally planned to carry out essential face to face meetings and to provide final team feedback to act on Origin Sports Group’s recommendations.

Grant Dalton, CEO of ETNZGrant Dalton, CEO of ETNZ

ETNZ and RNZYS have had to balance the need for further time to ensure they accept a bid that is in the best interests of the America’s Cup event with the need for Challengers to know the final venue as soon as practicable.

Maintain the event in Auckland

Furthermore, on Wednesday morning, ETNZ and RNZYS received a letter from Mark Dunphy regarding the viability of his funding to maintain the event in Auckland. This extension of the process will also allow Mr Dunphy further time to answer the questions we have already put to him over the past month.

Grant Dalton, CEO of ETNZ, commented:

“The fundamental fact is that we have a number of outstanding potential venues literally going down to the wire and all of them with strong and competitive bids on the table and firmly committed to completing agreements in the coming weeks – that’s a good place to be in for sure. It’s frustrating not to have been able to close our agreement with a Host Venue by the planned date of 17 September as previously proposed but we are now giving ourselves more time to work through the final details of the respective venues as the current COVID situation in New Zealand has made the process more difficult.

As we have always maintained throughout, however unlikely it seemed, Auckland has never been off the table for obvious reasons. So now that we finally have an 11th hour letter from Mr Dunphy, it would be remiss of us not to explore the viability of an Auckland event and if it in fact can be fully and completely funded locally. To date there has been no evidence of this being the case.”

The search for the AC37 Host Venue was started back in May 2020 by Origin Sports Group but was paused for an exclusive three-month period from March 17th, during which the New Zealand Government had the exclusive right to negotiate AC37 being held in New Zealand and continued once this period lapsed.

Published in America's Cup
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