Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton is reported to be headed to Europe, looking to seal the America’s Cup hosting deal.
It comes at a difficult time with Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine likely to escalate with the supply of aircraft from Poland, and hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring across Europe to escape the fighting.
The Winter Paralympics in China came within hours of collapsing, when competitor power forced the International Paralympic Committee back down and kick out Russia and Belarus.
China of course cut the announcement by IOC President Andrew Parsons on its broadcast media.
The Kiwi Cup holders have set a March 31 deadline to name the venue . . . how Dalton must regret missing last September’s date.
Team New Zealand and their international brokers at Sir Keith Mills’ Origin Sports Group in Britain, have been having daily digital briefings over the progress of the hosting situation . . . they must have been interesting.
The America’s Cup venue shortlist is now down to three :
Cork in Ireland, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and Malaga in Spain – plus the face-saving fall-back of a home defence in Auckland.
Dalton could find the political and economic situation in Europe rules out any hosting solution there.
Even although the actual Cup is not until 2024, the preparation process needs to be underway now, with teams expected to start sailing later in 2022.
Ireland must be a long shot surely, now not being a good time to be throwing money at likely black-hole yachting events.
The other two venues depend on Saudi and Qatar money, and they will have plenty of that as oil price goes through the roof.
This is the same Saudi Arabia that is presently hosting an armaments fair in Riyadh, with six Russian and Belarusian companies listed that are sanctioned by Britain and the USA, touting the weapons currently rolling across Ukraine!
You Couldn’t Make It Up . . . !
Grant Dalton could find that a home defence is all that is left, and even that could be pushed back if Putin finally losses the plot and the fighting spills out across Europe.