36th Copa America: Uncertainty surrounding future fixtures due to New Zealand’s lockdown | Sailing News | Instant News


Wednesday’s PRADA Cup race was postponed after New Zealand went into lockdown for 72 hours. THE INEOS UK TEAM wants to finish the PRADA Cup Final, despite being postponed, and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli has submitted a hard cut-off.

By Emma Thurston

Last Updated: 17/02/21 18:38


Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS TEAM UK have different positions for the resumption of competition (Image Credit – © COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi)

There is much uncertainty surrounding the Copa America competition, with INEOS TEAM UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli taking different positions regarding future fixtures.

The race in the PRADA Cup Final between INEOS TEAM UK and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli will continue on Wednesday. However, after New Zealand’s COVID-19 alert levels changed and they locked themselves out for a total of 72 hours, race day was postponed.

The PRADA Cup Final is a competition between the two remaining challengers that determines who will challenge the Emirates New Zealand Team in the 36th Copa America. This is the first series with seven wins, and four races have taken place so far.

Now, event organizers have said they want to retain as much of the American Cup as originally planned, but race day may need to be postponed to do that.

The PRADA Cup Final between INEOS TEAM UK against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli will determine which team will be the challengers in the 36th America's Cup match (Image Copyright - COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi)

The PRADA Cup Final between INEOS TEAM UK against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli will determine which team will be the challengers in the 36th America’s Cup match (Image Copyright – COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi)

In a statement, organizers later explained that if New Zealand’s alert level drops to one, the race will resume this weekend.

However, if the alert level remains at three or two, that means restrictions in encounters and difficulties with events, races and event activations will need to be rescheduled.

The intention of the potential rescheduling will provide the best opportunity to see the event progressing with maximum involvement and benefit for the public and stakeholders.

Tina Symmans – Chair of the American Cup

The proposed date is the rescheduling of the PRADA Cup Final to restart on February 26, with the first race of the Copa America match set to kick off on March 13.

INEOS UK TEAM supports the position of organizer of the American Cup (Image Credit - COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi)

INEOS UK TEAM supports the position of organizer of the American Cup (Image Credit – COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi)

The INEOS TEAM, led by team head and captain Sir Ben Ainslie, followed Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli 4-0 in the PRADA Cup final and the England team supported the race organizer’s proposal.

The result of the PRADA Cup final must be won and decided on the water in the format agreed to win seven races, their statement said.

“THE INEOS UK TEAM fully respects the government’s decision to limit racing until it is safe to do so and will support postponement of competition if necessary.

“The solution ACE puts forward is prudent in ensuring the safety of everyone in New Zealand, and the integrity of sporting competition. INEOS TEAM UK will continue our race preparation and be ready to race if it is safe to do so.”

Challenger of Record has also offered its full support to ACE and to local authorities to immediately implement the Level 3 Alert management plan provided by AC36 Event COVID-19 Management On Land and On Water Plans.

The plan stipulates that, in warning of COVID-19 level 3, AC36 Village will be closed and regata will be continued “behind closed doors”, without the public, as has happened in many international sporting events.

This water management plan has been tested and therefore can be activated immediately with the approval of the authorities.

As teams are allowed to sail and train under COVID-19 alert level 3, it is difficult to understand why races “behind closed doors” cannot be allowed to enforce the same protocol.

However, their opponent Luna Rosa Prada Pirelli takes a very different stance on the matter and has made it clear that they want to race as soon as February 19, while respecting public health and the protocol enforced by the New Zealand government.

“As teams are allowed to sail and train under COVID-19 alert level three, it is difficult to understand why ‘behind closed doors’ races cannot be allowed to implement the same protocol,” their statement said.

As Challenger of Records, they continue to say that if the race program is not completed by February 24th, then they intend to set top scorer as the winner of the PRADA Cup.

The team will be a contender for the Copa America match and under the current points situation, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

Watch every moment of the America’s Cup challenge, live on Sky Sports.

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