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America's Cup: Council claims Cup course arrangements were signed off by all parties in February

by Sail-World.com/nz 22 Oct 02:12 PDT 22 October 2020
Emirates Team New Zealand's base in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour © Richard Gladwell

Two of the principal parties in the 36th America's Cup have issued conflicting media statements tonight over correspondence and agreements relating to the course area allocations for the Prada Cup, or Challenger Selection Series.

Luna Rossa Parda Pirelli issued a statement which claimed in part:

"In early September, the Challenger of Record discovered, without having been previously involved nor informed by the Defender, that the Round Robins and the Semi-Finals of the Challengers Selection Series - the PRADA Cup – could not be sailed on courses B and C, designated as preferred courses for the Final Match. A situation that the Defender had kept hidden since the end of January/beginning of February."

The "hidden" situation is believed to be a letter written by the Ports Of Auckland and referenced in the Arbitration Panel Decision preventing Course Areas B & C being used for the 36th America's Cup, dated January 29, 2020.

Nick Hill, Independent Chair of the AC36 Joint Chief Executive Group, says the courses were agreed by all parties including the Challenger of Record and Defender in February, 2020 contrary to claims by the Challenger of Record that they only knew of the arrangement over six months later in September.

Hill was today announced as head of the Auckland Council's Event and Economic Development Agency - a merger of the former ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events Economic Development) and RFA (Regional Facilities Auckland).

The full statement issued by Hill reads:

We’ve been clear that the parties need to work together to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.

The uses of the courses and the parameters around their use were agreed to by all of the agencies, including the Challenger of Record representative and the Defender in February.

We expect to see an event where Aucklanders and visitors can share in the experience, an event that will showcase Auckland to the world, and we will work with the parties to help achieve that outcome.

In mid-March 2020, the senior management team in COR36 were replaced including CEO Laurent Esquier, Marketing Director Mirko Groeschner and the Communications Director Justin Chisholm. Matteo Plazzi remained with responsibility for Race Operation, Francesco Longanesi Cattani returned in the interim.

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