Challenger of Record Luna Rossa have hit back against claims they are making decisions solely in the interest of their challenger progressing through to the America's Cup match.
With a new Covid-19 outbreak in the community and Auckland on alert Level 2, America's Cup Event Limited (ACE) hoped to postpone racing by a week to allow the chance for a return to level one.
The team were against this proposed delay to completing the Prada Cup finals, a stance that drew the ire of ACE.
ACE chair Tina Symmans said "it's clear that their focus is solely on Luna Rossa taking the Prada Cup rather than the greater good of the country who have worked so hard in order to be in a position to stage this event".
However, at a press conference on Thursday, Challenger of Record spokesperson Francesco Longanesi Cattani refuted that claim.
"The opportunity to race gives Ineos more chances to win races and to win, on the water, the competition. If we were delaying the racing, the chances for Ineos to recover their current scoring would be minor.
"It's exactly the contrary. The approach that we have is to go out on the water as soon as practically possible ... in order to give the maximum number of races to give Ineos and Luna Rossa a fair game."
The Challenger of Record's stance is based on the agreed upon date during which the regatta would run, which were confirmed and signed off in February last year, and the fact there are protocols in place to complete racing in alert Levels 2 and 3 should the need arise.
The rules set the 24th of February as the end of the Prada Cup, without any possible extension, and state "the winner is the team with the highest score at the date of the final scheduled date".
Challenger of Record legal counsel Alessandra Pandarese said the plans on how to approach the regatta should Covid-19 rear its head have been worked on for some time between themselves and ACE.
"If we want to carry on this event, we have to stick with the protocols about the Covid management plan," Pandarese said.
"The first one was issued in November; we had a great group of people from COR, the authorities and ACE, working together for this protocol. We have four people dedicated to that, and all the people that are managing on the water and on shore, they are aware of those protocols.
"In this protocol it says clearly that in [alert Level] 1 and two there is sailing automatically with a certain protocol to be put in place.
"We were ready as COR to support every step of this. Now, as soon as we had the information last night that the level changed from 3 to 2, for us it was very logical that the event would have carried out the next day."
Pandarese noted under the rules of the America's Cup the Challenger of Record acted as the organising entity of the Prada Cup, but the relationship between themselves and ACE was important in successfully running the event.