Concerns America’s Cup could be moved or postponed over visa exemption delay

There are concerns about the immediate future of the America's Cup, as challenging teams still wait to see if they're allowed into New Zealand.

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Challenging teams are still waiting to see if they're allowed into New Zealand, with their visa exemptions applications still being processed. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS understands the American ambassador has even been involved, as frustration builds with their visa exemption applications still being processed.

A veteran of many American challengers says there could be a move of postponement if visas aren’t granted this week.

“If the visas are not granted this week I think there's a high risk, a very high risk, the Cup will be postponed or moved,” Tom Ehman said.

Ehman now runs podcasts after being involved in various American yacht clubs, teams and cup regattas for 40 years.

He says the cup's arbitration panel is set to be petitioned with the panel, made up by an Australian, a Kiwi and Swiss, having the ability to move the cup.

There are on-going concerns about fairness and safety.

“If the challengers aren't let in to start practising now, they're going be way behind the eight ball, in respect to Emirates Team New Zealand,” he said.

“The second issue is safety. These are brand new boats.

“If someone is hurt or, like happened here in 2013 in San Francisco, worse, there'll be blood on the hands of the Government, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand.”

In response to the latest rumblings, Team New Zealand declined the chance to comment.

American Magic and British team Ineos have had their special border exemption applications in for some time.

“I understand the minister's likely to make a decision imminently,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“We certainly understand the pressures that are involved.”

The challengers are still offering to pay for their own quarantine when they arrive, for a start.

They're already pumping millions into the economy, including the current construction of their bases.

“I hope the Government will act and will act now 'cos it's not a good look right now for New Zealand or the sport,” Ehman said.