America's Cup 2021: Emirates Team NZ defend decision to look abroad for next America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand are defending their decision to potentially take the next America's Cup offshore, saying without a team, there is no event.

The decision has come under heavy scrutiny, after Team NZ spoke with overseas cities about hosting the event, if they're victorious in March.

The New Zealand syndicate says it needs to raise money - and fast - to stop the sharks that are already circling from stealing our top talent.

One of the darkest chapters in New Zealand's sailing history occurred back in 2003, after Team NZ crashed and caused significant design flaws to their boat.

Rubbing salt in the wound, the Swiss challenger led by former teammates Sir Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth - who had jumped ship at the first opportunity for bigger money - cruised to victory with Alinghi. 

The worst fears for Kiwi fans could be upon us, with Alinghi and billionaire backer Ernesto Bertarelli reportedly back for the next America's Cup. 

"It just reiterates how important it is to be ready to hold our team together," Team NZ chief operations officer Kevin Shoebridge says. "Could we see what happened in 2003 happen again?

"I hope not, I hope not." 

The New Zealand side looked abroad for expressions of interest from overseas cities to host the next cup for a fee. It would use that money to stop other teams from poaching key talent again. 

"Without a team, we don't have an event, so it's critical," Shoebridge says.  

But the idea of Team NZ winning and taking the next Cup offshore has not gone down well. 

The Government and Auckland Council poured a combined $250 million dollars into the infrastructure for this year's event, and Auckland's Mayor Phil Goff expects to see the Cup back in the future. 

"We have invested in that infrastructure and having made a huge effort to get it completed on time, we would expect Team NZ to take that into account, when they decide where the Cup is to be held next time," Goff says. 

The team vehemently deny using the lure of overseas money as a bargaining chip to get a taxpayer handout for the next event, scheduled for 2023. 

"We're not holding the gun to anyone's head, we're just being responsible," Shoebridge says. "We're trying to have options on the table, we're not sitting waiting for a handout or expecting help from anyone."  

Shoebridge says the first responsibility is to his 150 team members, not the country, because as soon as the racing is over, the money runs out.

"We have enough funding to get us to the end and that's it, then we start thinking about the future," he says. 

Before then, there's the not-so-small matter of actually winning on the water, before deciding what to do off it.

Join us on Saturday for live updates of the Luna Rossa v Team UK America's Cup challenger final.