Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, owner of the Patrizio Bertelli team. Photo / Provided
The billionaire owner of the international Cup of America team can be considered a “critical worker” in the eyes of the New Zealand Government – which has opened the door for them to apply for border waivers before the 2021 event.
This week, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) indicated that the America’s Cup team could now apply for an exemption for their owners to enter New Zealand under the “other critical workers” category.
This border exclusion category allows Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, who owns Ineos Team UK, and owner of Italian luxury fashion house Prada, Patrizio Bertelli, to enter New Zealand.
A spokesman for Luna Rossa’s team Prada Pirelli told the Herald on Sunday that “Mr Bertelli is still considering his travel plans to New Zealand” ahead of the Copa America tournament, which kicks off in Auckland in December.
An Ineos Team England spokesman said: “No decisions have been made regarding the attendance of the three team owners [the primary of whom is Ratcliffe] still.”
Ratcliffe, 67, is worth $ 32 billion and is the founder of the Ineos Chemicals group. He formed a dedicated Ineos Team UK team to compete in the 2021 Copa America, investing $ 215 million to do so.
Bertelli, 74, is worth $ 5 billion and is the executive director of the Prada Group. He has been involved with the Copa America since 1997, when he formed the Prada team to compete at the Auckland event in 2000.
An MBIE spokesperson said the border exclusion category was because the American Cup was a “Government approved event”.
“It is up to individual syndicates whether their ‘other critical worker’ requests include the owner and senior team figures. All requests (and individuals included in the request) are assessed by INZ against the relevant border exclusion criteria.”
The international team competing third was the New York-based American Magic Yacht Club.
A spokesperson said they could not disclose any information about their discussions with MBIE about bringing their team leader to New Zealand.
However, they say some of the American Magicians are already with the team in Auckland.
In June, the New Zealand Government granted more than 400 border exemptions for Ineos Team UK and American Magic to include racing staff and their family members.
Seafarers and team staff Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli left New Zealand quarantine last week, and this weekend are stationed at their team headquarters in Viaduct Marina.
The team’s monohull cruise ship arrived in Auckland last week after being transported by plane from Lombardy, Italy.
67-year-old Ratcliffe also owns the Mercedes AMG F1 team and the Team Ineos cycling team which won the 2019 Tour de France. He has also been linked with the purchase of English Premier League team Chelsea.
His company, Ineos, is one of the largest chemical companies in the world with annual sales of more than $ 100 billion.
Bertelli has a long history of attending American Cup events. The Prada company he runs with his wife, Miuccia Prada, sponsored Italian team Luna Rossa at the 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2013 American Cups.
The Italian luxury fashion brand headquartered in Milan, generated revenues of more than $ 5 billion in 2019.