The Government has admitted that the coronavirus pandemic could affect plans for next year's America's Cup.

Travel restrictions in New Zealand has created uncertainty over the preparation for the race, scheduled for March next year. Cup challengers American Magic and INEOS Team UK have pleaded for more information from the Government about entering the country and beginning training.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford admitted that there was uncertainty over how the pandemic will affect the Cup, but said the Government is "highly motivated" to see it go ahead.

"At this stage it is hard to know the extent to which Covid-19 will affect the 36th America's Cup in Auckland, however there is likely to be some impact," Twyford said.

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"The Government is highly motivated to see the 36th America's Cup go ahead. However, critical factors including restrictions on gatherings, and any restrictions for borders here and internationally still have to be worked through."

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson added that some exceptions had already been made to the rules.

"Now we have to say as we move down the alert levels – 'what do we do for the likes of the America's Cup?'," Robertson told Magic Talk.

"That work is under way and we have been talking to Team New Zealand and we hope to have some announcements to make about that soon."

Grant Robertson. Photo / Getty
Grant Robertson. Photo / Getty

Robertson said the Government is working on providing more information to teams.

"Obviously they [the teams] want to be in here in the next couple of months. We need to be able to at least give them a response before that time.

"We are working through that, and not just for the America's Cup. I know it is an important event for New Zealand but we also have to have consistent criteria."

American Magic have gambled on travel restrictions easing and have already shipped their first generation boat to Auckland. The British syndicate is waiting on whether to send its full-sized boat to New Zealand or continue testing in Portsmouth. Luna Rossa are continuing to train in Sardinia.

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Team New Zealand has the advantage of training locally, but is still awaiting the return of the AC75 Te Aihe boat from Europe after warm-up regattas in Italy and England were cancelled because of the pandemic.

All teams are now building their second-generation boats.

The first chance to race at the world series regatta is scheduled for December. Challengers will then race in the Prada Cup early next year, and the winner will challenge Team New Zealand for the America's Cup.