SAN DIEGO (KCBS) — A cost cutting move could may cause the America’s Cup 2017 regatta in Bermuda to lose two of its strongest challengers.

Organizers announced in a statement on Tuesday night that the majority of teams taking part in the regatta voted to reduce the size of boats to be sailed—from the 62 foot catamarans used in the last regatta in San Francisco to boats in the 45-to 50-foot range.

But Italy’s Luna Rossa said last week it would be ‘obliged to withdraw’ if the boat size was changed – and Emirates Team New Zealand spoke out in support of the Italians.

The Italian team has not yet responded since the announcement.

Organizers also voted to pull a qualifying regatta from New Zealand – an event the Kiwis say they need to secure government funding.

Emirates Team New Zealand said on its Twitter account Tuesday night that it has filed for arbitration to reinstate Auckland for the qualifier.

Drop outs by the Italian and New Zealand teams would likely give Oracle Team USA the edge in retaining the Auld Mug, the oldest trophy in international sports.

On Sept. 25 2013, Oracle Team USA, which had be trailing 8-1 from the previous week, sailed away from Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds to retain the trophy in a winner-take-all finale on San Francisco Bay.

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