WELLINGTON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - The next America's Cup regatta in New Zealand could lose one of their challengers after the Stars & Stripes syndicate were told by the event's independent arbitration panel they must use a yacht built in the United States.
The event's rules requires teams to construct their yachts "in country" and Stars & Stripes asked if that applied just to America's Cup races involving cup holder Team New Zealand (TNZ) or across the whole event, including the challengers' series.
"No, it applies to all events," the panel wrote in their decision, that was finalised on Tuesday.
Stuff Media, New Zealand's largest newspaper company, reported last week that Stars & Stripes were struggling to finish their yacht.
They had also asked if they could use TNZ's first generation "Te Aihe" to race the challenger series Prada Cup next January-February.
The panel's decision, however, has ended those hopes.
All of the syndicates, TNZ and the challengers from Britain, Italy and two, including Stars & Stripes, from the United States, are allowed to build just two AC-75 monohull foiling yachts.
The Prada Cup challenger series starts on Jan. 15 and is scheduled to end in late February before the America's Cup match against TNZ starts on March 6.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
((Greg.Stutchbury@thomsonreuters.com; +64 4 802-8162;))
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