World Sailing to launch World Cup review, Abu Dhabi drops rights to season finale

World Sailing has said it will launch a strategic review of its showpiece Sailing World Cup series and has stated Abu Dhabi has withdrawn its hosting rights to the finale of the ongoing 2016 season.

The sport’s global governing body said the review will look into the future of the Sailing World Cup from 2017 to 2020 in order to ensure that the series remains the “best possible showcase” for the sport ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The review will be concluded and proposals presented at the World Sailing mid-year meeting in Lausanne in May.

World Sailing said in a statement: “The comprehensive review will include considering continental representation, calendar and venues, events, sailor quotas, ranking points, Para World Sailing and the role of known and future Olympic venues within the calendar. Sailors will continue to be placed at the heart of the Sailing World Cup, ensuring it is attractive to athletes, commercial partners and the media.”

World Sailing said it was agreed that any existing contracts with Sailing World Cup organising authorities for 2016 would be honoured. The eighth season of the World Cup commenced in Melbourne, Australia in December before moving on to the US city of Miami in January.

The calendar was to then follow the 2015 model of Hyères (France), Weymouth and Portland (UK) and Qingdao (China) before concluding with the World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi.

However, the organisation said: “World Sailing chief executive, Andy Hunt, and World Sailing president, Carlo Croce, met with Abu Dhabi organisers at the end of February. Following the World Sailing Executive Committee decision in November 2015 to host the 2016 World Sailing Annual Conference in Europe rather than Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority took the decision to withdraw their financial support of the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final and future editions of the event.”

World Sailing said contractual discussions are ongoing with an alternative venue, adding that it expects to confirm dates for events in the final quarter of 2016 by the end of March.