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America's Cup: ETNZ Board Chair hits back at false allegations

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 14 Jun 02:24 PDT 14 June 2021
Prime Minister Jacinda Adhern (cetre) with Sir Stephen Tindall (right) ETNZ Chairman, Emirates Team New Zealand launch the world's first AC75, Auckland, September 6, © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

Sir Stephen Tindall, the recently resigned Chairman of the Board of Emirates Team New Zealand has responded angrily to media claims that his retirement is "proof positive" that he does not agree with the direction the team is taking for its fourth Defence of the America's Cup.

The claims first surfaced in the international media over a week ago, and were repeated prominently in a leading and usually authoritative New Zealand business publication in a report on the defence plans for the America's Cup.

Late Monday afternoon Sir Stephen, who took over the Chairmanship when the restructured Team New Zealand Ltd Board was put in place in 2013, issued a written statement which was circulated by the team.

“I can categorically confirm that my retirement from as Director of Emirates Team New Zealand has absolutely nothing to do with the whereabouts of venue for the 37th America’s Cup. I am offended that [person's name redacted], without speaking to me would represent my retirement in such an uninformed manner to suit his own agenda and it would appear that of the [entity's name redacted].

"As a long term director of the team I completely understand the commercial realities of keeping the team operational and funded to be able to defend the America’s Cup and this is the number one priority for the team. The challenges of funding the team are even greater in a Covid 19 ravaged world."

"The decision on venue is related directly to the need to keep the team financially viable but of course it is mine, and everyone else at ETNZs preference to hold the 37th Americas Cup in New Zealand."

"But if the team aren’t able to defend the Cup due to lack of committed funding then the staging of the event becomes something of a moot point.”

Sir Stephen joined as a Director on October 2013, and resigned on June 3, 2021. He has been replaced by leading commercial lawyer and corporate adviser, Greg Horton who was a Board member prior to the 36th America's Cup Defence, when he switched across to be on the Board of America's Cup Event Ltd. Horton is a nominal shareholder of Team NZ Ltd. Grant Dalton has replaced Sir Stephen Tindall as the other nominal shareholder.

A much-publicised meeting will be held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Tuesday. It is one of several that have been held from time to time to update the RNZYS membership on the progress of the team as it prepared for AC36. The main topic of the upcoming meeting is expected to be the teams negotiations with the NZ Government and Auckland Council over the financial aspects of the 37th America's Cup and those two parties possible involvement.

In a separate issue some RNZYS members, unhappy with the perceived direction being taken by Team New Zealand, are attempting to garner enough support from the RNZYS members to call a Special Meeting of the club. A special meeting may be called by a group of 25 members, 18 days notice must be given of a special meeting, and it must have a quorum of 50 members.

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