Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton is reportedly in Europe, looking to seal the 37th America’s Cup hosting deal, which is scheduled to be announced by 31 March 2022.
The news that Saudi Arabia had executed 81 men on Saturday – more than during the whole of last year – must surely make Grant Dalton and the ETNZ team stop and think!
When Dalton headed out, the international brokers at Sir Keith Mills’ Origin Sports Group in Britain, who are advising on the selection had three on the short-list:
Cork in Ireland, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and Malaga in Spain, plus the face-saving fall-back of a home defence in Auckland.
That list is no doubt in some disarray after the recent revelations.
While Jeddah in Saudi Arabia must surely be in the shredder, the situation with Spain hosting the AC37 event has blown wide open with Barcelona reportedly back in the bidding with Qatari backing.
Malaga is still in the game, again with Qatari money, and those two will no doubt out-bid anything Cork can bring to the table.
Of course, there is also the little matter of the ‘special military operation’ that Putin is inflicting on Ukraine and its effect across the whole of Europe.
Not just the sky rocketing price of gas and oil, but the ‘will he, won’t he’ take us all down the slippery slope of an ever-expanding Soviet Russia and a new Cold War.
Today all sporting events are going ahead with minor sanctions on the Russian and Belarusian participants . . . Tomorrow could be a very different scenario.
No doubt Grant Dalton’s advisors will be aware of the options and the likely problems and will try to keep those options open for as long as possible, but events may overtake them.