Sailing: the big Spanish offers for the America’s Cup revealed
New Zealand team boss Grant Dalton traveled to Europe to assess the host venues. Photo/Getty
Spain have doubled their chances of hosting the 37th America’s Cup after Barcelona announced their bid to attract the event.
With a host decision to be announced by Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on March 31, Barcelona have joined Malaga, Cork in Ireland and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on the shortlist.
New Zealand team boss Grant Dalton was last week in Barcelona – Spain’s second-largest city and capital of the Catalonia region – to view the facilities ahead of the defenders’ decision.
Spanish media reported yesterday that the Catalan government had backed the bid as a way to boost a tourism industry hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government has…announced that it authorizes the Ministry of Business and Employment to take the necessary actions to promote the Catalan capital’s candidacy to win this event,” La Vanguardia reported.
“The government is very interested in this issue because it considers above all that it implies an international projection for both the city and Catalonia and a boost to the revival of the tourist sector.”
The Catalan government was joined in backing the bid by Barcelona City Council, with Mayor Ada Colau saying: “The city has the infrastructure, the climate and the experience to be the best place.”
The New Zealand team had to seek an offshore host for the regatta when they failed to secure the funding to organize the defense in Auckland, where they retained the Auld Mug last year.
Barcelona’s entry into the hosting race came after Valencia, a port city in eastern Spain, was excluded from hosting considerations earlier this month.
It also comes a day after Malaga finalized their $121m bid to host the event. Local media reported that the bid, backed by Andalusia’s city council and regional government, included improvements to the Port of Malaga ahead of the 2024 regatta.
The four-city race, now in its final stages, could be complicated by the political realities of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Barcelona, Malaga and Cork are each in countries that are part of the European Union, which has provided military aid to Ukraine. Spain is also a member of NATO, an alliance which could however be drawn into the conflict.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has been accused of siding with Russia in not condemning the invasion, with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman having held talks with Vladimir Putin while refusing to increase its production of oil to account for a Russian deficit.
Formula 1 has come under fire this week for hosting the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah, but chief executive Stefano Domenicali said the decision to race could help shine a light on the country’s questionable human rights record. the man.