Melbourne has been announced as the replacement host of the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final, with competition to take place at the St Kilda Sailing Precinct.
The Australian city has stepped in to replace Abu Dhabi, which withdrew from hosting this year’s event in March after World Sailing’s Executive Committee awarded their Annual Conference to Barcelona rather than the United Arab Emirates city.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority pulled its financial support for the season-ending finale in protest at the choice to hand the Annual Conference, the largest yearly gathering of officials in the sport where key decisions are made, to Europe.
Following the decision, World Sailing refused to be drawn on suggestions the move was a response to the recent anti-discrimination measures brought in by the international governing body.
Having successfully staged a World Cup event in 2015 at St Kilda, Melbourne will now hold the World Cup Final from December 4 to 11.
"Melbourne's sporting heritage is one of the finest in the world," said Andy Hunt, World Sailing’s chief executive.
"World Sailing are delighted to be taking the centrepiece of the Sailing World Cup to the Australian city.
"Following Rio 2016, sailing will have a new crop of heroes, welcoming them to the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final will be the start of inspiring the next generation of sailing talent.
“St Kilda's thriving foreshore, Melbourne's famous breeze and the organising authorities' exceptional track record of event delivery will enable World Sailing to showcase Olympic sailing and our athletes to the wider public.”
The St Kilda Sailing Precinct and the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron previously staged Olympic competition during the Melbourne 1956 Summer Games.
Ten Olympic fleets and the 2.4 Norlin One Design event will all be contested during the competition, with sailors vying to be crowned as a 2016 Sailing World Cup champion.
The event will draw the World Cup series to a close, with competitions having already been held in Melbourne and Miami this season.
The latest World Cup in Hyères is currently in progress and is due to conclude on May 1.
Events will then take place in Weymouth and Portland in Britain during June, while Chinese city Qingdao will stage competition in September before December's World Cup Final.
"Last year's World Cup held in the vibrant and cosmopolitan St Kilda Sailing Precinct proved itself to be an outstanding location to compete and experience," said Mark Klemens, the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final event chairman.
“I am delighted to be chairman of this year's event and so delighted we have been chosen as the venue for the finals, particularly in an Olympic year.
“I promise to all, a magnificently staged event with Melbourne as its back drop, I promise to competitors and spectators alike a memorable week of the highest competition on the perfect waters of Port Philip.”