Malta becomes smallest nation to challenge for America's Cup

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Royal Malta Yacht Club has been accepted as the fourth challenger for the 36th America's Cup in 2021, making the Mediterranean archipelago the smallest country to compete for the oldest trophy in international sports.

Malta Altus Challenge was accepted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. It joins Challenger of Record Luna Rossa of Italy, the New York Yacht Club's American Magic and INEOS Team UK.

Malta has a population of approximately 460,000.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club's challenge was the first of eight late entries to be received by the RNZYS at last week's late entry deadline. It's not known how many of the other late challenges will be accepted.

The winner of the challenger series will face Emirates Team New Zealand in the America's Cup match in Auckland.