The future of the next America's Cup defence could be heading to court — not overseas, but here in New Zealand.
1 NEWS has been informed members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron could possibly look at legal action, blocking the next cup defence from being held overseas.
It comes as there's a week remaining in the negotiation period between the New Zealand Government and Team New Zealand for the rights to host the next regatta in Kiwi waters.
At this stage, 1 NEWS understands some squadron members are concerned the defence is going to head offshore, which has prompted them to look at available legal options as well as fine print in America’s Cup law.
If need be, some of the members and their legal advisers intend on testing a clause in the cup's Deed of Gift agreement which states the cup is the property of a club — in this case, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron — and not the property of a winning syndicate or boat, which is Team New Zealand.
The squadron told 1 NEWS it's ‘unaware’ of any possible legal action, while Team New Zealand told 1 NEWS it's still working closely with the squadron and the Government over the next cup defence and won't comment further until next week.
Last week, Team New Zealand confirmed they're considering an offer from the Government and Auckland City Council to host the next America's Cup here.
Figures leaked suggest the team has been offered $100 million for the next event. However, sources have told 1 NEWS that equates to around $30 million directly to the team, which is less than the last cup.
The rest is "in kind" funding, including money being pumped into the cup village and infrastructure.
Doha in the Middle East and Portsmouth in England have been touted as other possible hosting venues if Auckland falls over.