WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Mayor of Barcelona has announced that the next contest for sailing’s America’s Cup is set to be held in the Spanish city in 2024.
In a video posted Monday on social media, Mayor Ada Colau said Barcelona had been chosen as the host city for the 37th Cup regatta. While recent reports had pointed to Barcelona as a likely host, Colau’s statement came ahead of any official announcement by America’s Cup-holder Team New Zealand.
After defending the Cup off Auckland in 2021, Team New Zealand indicated it was unlikely that the next regatta also would take place in New Zealand because of funding difficulties.
Team New Zealand effectively put the Cup hosting rights up for tender and invited cities around the world to bid. Barcelona emerged as the most likely venue when the Irish city of Cork withdrew its bid earlier Monday.
Cork was responding to advice from the Irish government and other agencies which suggested Cork harbour could not be made ready for the regatta in the time available.
“An event of the caliber of the America’s Cup brings with it an expectation of excellent delivery,” Ireland’s Department of Tourism and Sport said in a statement. “The tight time frame available prior to the 37th edition of the Cup brought with it a large risk of under-delivery.”
Cork’s withdrawal left the field open to Barcelona.
“Today Barcelona celebrates another great piece of good news,” Colau said. “And it is that our city will host the America’s Cup of sailing in 2024, the oldest international competition in the world and one of the most important with a great economic and media impact.
“It is a competition where, beyond the days of the event, the participating teams make large investments in innovation and, therefore, has a sustained economic impact during the two years prior to the regatta.”
Team New Zealand has been threatened with legal action if it decides to defend the Cup outside New Zealand.
Sir Edmund Thomas, a retired judge of New Zealand’s Supreme Court, has warned Team New Zealand he will sue if it attempts to take the Cup defense overseas.
“I believe that the defense of the Cup should take place in New Zealand. The public interest is involved and I would wish to promote the public interest,” Thomas said in a letter to Hayden Porter, chief executive of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. As the America’s Cup is a contest between sailing clubs, the squadron formally is the Cup holder.
In 1985, Thomas obtained an injunction which prevented a tour to South Africa by New Zealand’s national rugby team from going ahead because of South Africa’s apartheid system.
Team New Zealand has received substantial financial support from New Zealand taxpayers and Auckland ratepayers to help fund its operations and provide infrastructure for its previous Cup defense in New Zealand.
A decision to defend the trophy overseas is expected to be poorly received in New Zealand where the event has a high profile.
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