America’s Cup 2021: Start of America’s Cup between Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa put on hold under level 3

Team New Zealand are going to have to wait a bit longer to begin their defence of the America’s Cup.

The start of the America’s Cup is being delayed following last night’s announcement that Auckland would be in lockdown level 3 for the next week.

The opening races between defender Team New Zealand and challenger Luna Rossa were scheduled to begin on Saturday March 6. With two more races on Sunday.

A statement said racing will not occur before at least the following Wednesday.

America’s Cup Event Ltd Chair, Tina Symmans said: “As ACE has always said that it wishes to hold as much of the racing under Level 1 restrictions as possible. But to be prudent, ACE will apply for an exemption to race under Level 3 restrictions so as to keep as many options open as possible. However, racing will not occur before at least Wednesday 10th March.”

“We need to understand all likely scenarios so that an updated racing schedule can be put in place whilst also ensuring the regulatory requirements are met,” Symmans added.

During the Prada Cup earlier this month racing went ahead with crowd restrictions at level 2 but that came after a dispute between Luna Rossa and ACE with the Challenger of Record declaring racing would have to go ahead without crowds.

The Italian syndicate were leading Ineos Team UK 4-0 at the time and went on to win the series 7-1.

Other sporting events around the country will go ahead without crowds.

New Zealand Cricket quickly moved its T20 double-header featuring the Black Caps and White Ferns, scheduled for Eden Park on Friday, to Wellington, where it will be played without crowds.

The double-header scheduled for March 3 in Wellington will continue as planned but behind closed doors, while the event in Tauranga on March 7 will go ahead as NZ Cricket awaits Government advice on any level change.

The first casualty of the snap lockdown was Sunday morning’s Auckland’s Round the Bays run along the waterfront, which was set to feature tens of thousands of participants.

In rugby, the Blues – who beat the Hurricanes 31-16 in Wellington on Saturday – will likely be based outside Auckland during the city’s lockdown period to enable players to be able to train, as they have a bye in round two.

The clashes between the Chiefs and Highlanders and Crusaders and Hurricanes next weekend will likely be played behind closed doors.

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