America’s Cup champ calls for cancellation of prelim regatta

              FILE - In this April 9, 2019, file photo, Juventus' Daniele Rugani answers questions during a press conference at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Italian soccer club Juventus announced on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for new coronavirus. Rugani, who is also an Italy international, is the first player in Italy’s top soccer division to test positive but Juventus stressed that the 25-year-old has no symptoms.  (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

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Defending America’s Cup champion Emirates Team New Zealand is calling for the cancellation of the first of a series of preliminary regattas leading up to the main competition. The America’s Cup World Series on Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia is scheduled for April 23-26.

“It is quite obvious that the ACWS Cagliari event cannot go ahead,” Team New Zealand said in a statement released Friday in Auckland. “The teams are collectively entering discussions on a solution to create an equitable outcome for everyone around the loss and/or availability of sailing time due to the change of circumstance as a result of the global COVID-19/Coronavirus situation.”

It is up to the Challenger of Record whether the regatta goes on. A spokesman for the COR didn’t return an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. The regatta has been built up as the debut of a new class of foiling 75-foot monohulls.

The ACWS series is a logistical challenge. Team New Zealand shipped its new 75-foot yacht weeks ago, and the cargo ship carrying it is somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. American Magic, the New York Yacht Club’s racing team, is in the process of preparing its yacht for shipping.