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America's Cup: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli says if teams can train, they can race

by COR36 Media 17 Feb 22:44 NZDT 17 February 2021
Luna Rossa - Prada Cup Finals - Day 2 - February 14, 2021 - America's Cup 36 - Course E © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team is surprised by the statements published by America's Cup Event (ACE) and by INEOS Team UK.

From day one of the teams' activities in New Zealand, protocols have been put in place, together with ACE and all government bodies, to allow teams and organizers alike to operate in the different COVID-19 alert levels, enabling them to prepare and race behind closed doors, if need be, as happens in the Formula1, Australian Open and other events; the priority in these contexts is clearly the health of the people involved.

The Challenger of Record has confirmed that it is possible to race in total safety and has also offered full support to ACE and local Authorities for the application of the protocol indicated by the AC36 Event COVID-19 Management On Land and On Water Plans for the Covid-19 alert. There is no reason why teams that are allowed to train during this alert level should not be allowed to race, albeit behind closed doors, according to the same protocol.

The weather conditions for the next few days are ideal to carry out top level racing.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli is ready to race against INEOS Team UK on Friday February 19th, in compliance to the program of the Prada Cup Finals that which must end no later than February 24th. Even more so, now that the government has taken the decision to go down from Level 3 to Alert Level 2, allowing the regattas to take place in full respect of everyone's safety.

COR36 called a Media Conference for 1100hrs on Thursday.

The earlier statement by America's Cup Event Ltd is as follows:

America's Cup Event (ACE) position on continuation of racing:

In these uncertain times, as the permitted Event Organiser responsible for the delivery of the 36th America's Cup presented by Prada in Auckland under the Host Venue Agreement with NZ Government and Auckland Council, America's Cup Event Limited remains committed to maintaining as many aspects as possible of the Event as originally planned.This includes the ambition to maximise the possibility of safe public engagement at the event for Aucklanders and kiwis from around the country, as well as the commercial benefits to local businesses, event sponsors and partners which includes the New Zealand Government and Auckland City. We are also mindful of the global broadcasting rights holders that are taking the stunning images of our country with thousands of people enjoying the event and broadcasting them into living rooms and devices around the world.

America's Cup Event Chair Tina Symmans said, "As event organisers, we have spent a considerable amount of time since Sunday evening looking at all possible scenarios. Like the majority of events around the country this weekend, the ramifications of running the remainder of the event need to be considered in an environment which is highly uncertain due to the latest COVID-19 concerns."

ACE has consulted with the America's Cup Minister Stuart Nash and senior Council officials and one consideration has been to postpone the current schedule of racing and events in the best interests of the public and all stakeholders given the current COVID-19 environment.

The position of ACE is based on one of two options based on the Government's review of alert levels at 4:30 this afternoon:

- If the alert levels drop to level 1 in time, then racing will resume this weekend. - If the alert level remains at 3 or 2, which obviously entails restrictions in gatherings and difficulties with events, racing and event activations would need to be rescheduled to recommence the PRADA Cup Final on Friday 26 February. To respect the original timeframe scheduled between the Prada Cup Final and the America's Cup Match, Race 1 of the Match would subsequently begin a week later on Saturday 13 March with the intention of racing still being completed by 21 March.

This morning the Challenger of Record (COR36) has made their position very clear in stating their desire to race from tomorrow despite COVID Alert level 3, to complete the PRADA Cup final by the 24th February in accordance with the existing Prada Cup conditions.

They have also stated that if the racing program cannot be completed by Wednesday (24th) they intend to declare the leading point scorer the winner of the Prada Cup and Challenger for the America's Cup Match. Under the current points situation, that would be Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team.

"There is no guarantee as to what COVID-19 Alert Level Auckland or New Zealand will be operating under. If the event is faced with operating under COVID-19 Level 2 or 3, plans are in place to ensure the continued delivery and conclusion of the 36th America's Cup presented by Prada within the scheduled dates." Explained Symmans. "Clearly this would have potential implications for public participation which we are trying to avoid, however the intention of the potential rescheduling will give the best possible opportunity to see the event run with maximum engagement and benefits for public and stakeholders.

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