8 late challenges received for America’s Cup
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Defender Team New Zealand could face as many as 11 challengers for sailing’s America’s Cup when the 36th contest for the trophy takes place off Auckland in early 2021.
Eight new challenges were received before the cutoff for entries at 5 p.m. New Zealand time on Friday, joining the previously accepted challenges from Italy’s Luna Rossa, American Magic and INEOS Team UK.
But some of the entries are likely to be ruled invalid. Challenger of Record the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand said only one of the eight entries received Friday could be immediately accepted.
“Some of the entries are likely to be invalid, something which will be determined through a vetting process which will begin immediately,” the two groups said in a statement.
Team New Zealand chief Grant Dalton said he was “really encouraged by the level of interest that has been shown from around the world by the number of notices of challenge that have lodged by today’s deadline.
“However, we must remain cautious and not jump to conclusions on the final number of teams. It is only when the acceptance process has been completed that we will know how many will compete in the Prada Cup (challengers series) alongside Luna Rossa, American Magic and INEOs Team UK.”
Some of the challengers will require changes to the Protocol — the document which set the rules for the regatta — which requires the consent of the Challenger of Record.
“We understand there will be questions around what a conditional challenge is,” Dalton said. “To give some context, an example is where we might have a challenge that is conditional on there being an America’s Cup World Series event in that specific challenger’s country.
“This, obviously, is something that cannot be determined today and also needs agreement with the Challenger of Record.”
The America’s Cup is regarded as the oldest trophy in international sports, having been competed for since 1856. Team New Zealand most recently won the Cup from Oracle Team USA in the Bahamas in 2017.