Improving America’s Cup integrity

In today’s edition of the US Scuttlebutt, Iain Percy, Team Manager and Tactician for America’s Cup challenger Artemis Racing, takes a look at what the 35th America’s Cup has done to improve the integrity for the competition.

America’s Cup Race Management is organising the sporting side of the America’s Cup. And importantly, for the first time, that organisation is owned and run collectively with equal vote between all the teams. I think it’s been an important step.

The America’s Cup is this hugely prestigious event and unique in the sense that the defender has always been said to hold all the cards as they make the rules.

While that still applies in a lot of the cases on the commercial side, and as they set the general framework for the event, but when it comes down to the racing on the day, I think for any sporting competition it is vital that there’s complete neutrality from the person firing the starting gun to the people making the call on who will get the penalty and who will not.

And that’s the role of ACRM.

ACRM is the neutral race management led by Iain Murray, who is hugely respected within our sport, and I am sure there isn’t a team out there that doesn’t feel he’s the right man for that job.

He’s one of those people who will stand up to pressure for the right thing, and he will come under pressure. We are sporting competition, and while the event is commercially still owned by the defender so there are commercial pulls, but Iain will be fighting his corner representing the teams to make sure the racing itself is fair and the best team therefore wins.

Good governance in sport is vitally important. It underlines why people want to watch it. People want to watch a genuine competition between people doing their best without any unfair backhanded deals.

The America’s Cup, let’s be honest, has been plagued with that rumour that there is an element of that, and the only way to get rid of that fully is to have neutral race management where the decisions are from a group that are owned collectively by all the competitors.

So this has been an important move, and it’s important also that it’s led by someone strong in the form of Iain Murray. It’s the reason people watch this sport and enjoy it because they know the integrity is there. This is genuinely six teams going hammer and tong to beat each other without any thought to commercial implications when there on the water, with the racing itself being run in a truly fair way.

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