Media spat

The America’s Cup never fails to surprise. In an extraordinarily terse statement just issued by Prada and angled squarely at the Kiwis, the good-old Italians (everyone’s favourite team) have decided to uphold free-speech and accredit journalists on merit and not necessarily on the articles they write. Blimey – there’s hope for me yet. I very nearly dusted off my passport I was so excited with the news that the Prada Team has decided to fully take over the accreditation process for the upcoming pre-Christmas regatta and the Challenger series after disagreeing over the handing out of the laminated AAA press passes. But the extraordinary thing about the statement is the swipe they take at Team New Zealand.

AC75 Luna Rossa Launch Patrizio Bertelli

What Prada are saying is that Team New Zealand have been threatening “to deny accreditation on the basis of articles deemed by the Defender to be unpleasant or inaccurate.” Shock horror…and you know what? The Pope’s a Catholic (he also used to be ISAF ‘President’), the sun rises in the east and politicians lie. This has been going on for years and I should know (!) I actually gave up trying to get accreditation a very long time ago. Mugs game.

The statement goes on: “Of course, Prada wants to preserve the freedom of the press and has therefore taken the decision to run this procedure independently, in order to guarantee a fair and unbiased screening of the applicants, regardless of their opinions and based exclusively on strict professional criteria and/or security reasons.”

My dreams were scuttled at “strict professional criteria.” If Rule69 were to have a chance it would need to be: “strict professional and occasionally highly comical criteria.” Or perhaps accreditation should be garnered on numbers of eyeballs per article – we’d be in with a shout on that basis, way way ahead of national newspapers.

But all credit to Prada for doing this. It has been a long time coming. Perhaps Patrizio ‘El Patron’ Bertelli will be sending me a personal stiffy in the post – that’s an invitation you dark lot – and I’ll be winging my way to good old Kiwi-land to live it high on the hog. I’ll believe it when I see it. Not holding my breath. Wouldn’t mind a team jacket though.

As for Team NZ, well they are fabulous, outrageously brilliant sailors but boy do they take themselves just a little bit too seriously at times. Come on guys, chill. The world of sailing is just thankful that the event will be going ahead during these Covid times and the Kiwis, God bless them, should be encouraging anyone with a typewriter or a pen to cover the sport.

Do the opinions of a few hacks or bloggers matter? Really? There are so few out there adding any colour to this sport and jeez does this AC need all the colour it can get.

What exactly does Team NZ want? A load of dry articles marvelling at all the technology and lauding the team? Come on lads, that’s just dull. And you know it. Intrigue, gossip and titanic egos is why the Cup is so revered and holds the place that it does. Don’t lose it by carrying out petty vendettas against those trying to bring that to light.

And no, just for the record I don’t want ‘accreditation.’

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