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America's Cup organisers announce extension to 2024 venue bidding process

Organisers want to allow shortlisted venues time ‘to work through final details and provide further information’.

Emirates Team New Zealand beat challengers Luna Rossa of Italy in the 2021 America's Cup.
Emirates Team New Zealand beat challengers Luna Rossa of Italy in the 2021 America's Cup.
Image: Rob Taggart/Alamy Live News

IRELAND’S BID TO host the America’s Cup sailing regatta remains in contention after organisers announced an unexpected extension to the selection process on Thursday evening.

Ireland’s proposal to stage the 2024 race in Cork had been regarded as the leading contender ahead of bids from Spain and Saudi Arabia, with a decision due to be announced tomorrow.

But the bid appeared to have stalled when the government pressed pause this week to allow more time for a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, with the hosting bill projected to be in excess of €200 million.

As the America’s Cup defenders following their victory in the 2021 race, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand will select the venue for the 2024.

In a statement on Thursday evening, they said that they had received “three compelling and professional international proposals” and are extending the selection process so that the shortlisted candidates can “continue to work through final details and provide further information required for their respective bids”.

“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,” said Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand.

“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.”

Dalton also confirmed that a proposal for the event to remain in Auckland, led by New Zealand businessman Mark Dunphy, is under consideration alongside the international venues.

“As we have always maintained throughout, however unlikely it seemed, Auckland has never been off the table for obvious reasons,” he said.

“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.

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“To date there has been no evidence of this being the case.”

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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