Auckland lockdown prompts America's Cup review

FILE PHOTO: A rainbow appears on the Auckland skyline featuring Sky Tower in New Zealand, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

(Reuters) - America's Cup organisers are reviewing plans for the head-to-head final between Italy and New Zealand after the latest COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that the country's biggest city will go into a seven-day lockdown from Sunday after a new local case of the coronavirus, of unknown origin, surfaced.

The opening race of the best-of-13 series between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and America's Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) is due to be held in the waters off Auckland on March 6.

"America's Cup is reviewing the situation and will be working with the Authorities and relevant agencies over the next few days to work through the implications," the organisers said in a statement on Saturday.

The Challenger Series final this month was halted after two days of racing when Auckland entered a three-day lockdown.

Luna Rossa, who held a 4-0 lead over INEOS Team UK at the time, opposed pushing back the races until the restrictions in the city were lifted.

Racing resumed later that week and the Italian team completed a 6-1 victory to lift the Prada Cup and book a showdown with ETNZ in their bid to win the oldest trophy in international sport, which began in 1851.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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