Talks break down over Americas Cup row

22nd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 October 2007, MADRID -(AFP) - Stalled talks aimed at resolving a dispute between champions Alinghi of Switzerland and US sydicate Oracle that could see a postponement of the 2009 America's Cup in Spain are to be resumed on Monday.

22 October 2007

MADRID -(AFP) - Stalled talks aimed at resolving a dispute between champions Alinghi of Switzerland and US sydicate Oracle that could see a postponement of the 2009 America's Cup in Spain are to be resumed on Monday.

The head of organisers AC Management, Michel Hodara, told AFP that the two sides would talk again informally before a court case over the new rules governing the event that were proposed by Alinghi get underway in New York.

A failure to resolve their differences over the organisation of the event would likely lead to the yacht race, due to be held in Valencia, being postponed to a later date.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club, which represents Oracle, issued a statement late Saturday that said Alinghi had rejected a compromise proposal that it proposed aimed at ending the legal dispute.

Alinghi also made it clear that they would not disclose a new rule governing the size and design of the boats to be used in the next event until Oracle has committed to the next race.

"This amounts to asking us to buy the rule sight-unseen, which no one in our position would find acceptable," Golden Gate Yacht Club spokesman Tom Ehman was quoted as saying in the statement.

In July Oracle, backed by US billionaire Larry Ellison, lodged a complaint at a New York court accusing Alinghi of adopting a protocol for the sailing showpiece which is unfairly weighed in the defender's favour.

Alinghi said in a statement it would "continue up until the court room steps to try to find a solution to the situation".

Brad Butterworth, Alinghi team skipper, said he believed there was still enough time left to reach a compromise with Oracle.

"Despite not yet having issued the new class rule, they know a lot about the concept," he was quoted as saying in the Alinghi statement.

In addition to seeking to change the new rules, which include the introduction of a new boat class, Oracle wants Alinghi to drop Desafio Espanol as its "challenger of record".

Oracle argues the Spanish syndicate is an invalid challenger since it never held a regatta as required under the regulations that govern the America's Cup known as the "deed of the gift".

The protocol has already been amended and the challengers met to examine a proposal that they be allowed to choose one of the key design specifications of the new 90-foot boat which will be allowed to compete in the race.

Alinghi won the right to organize the 33rd America's Cup after it completed a 5-2 victory over Emirates Team New Zealand in Valencia in July.

So far only five competitors have signed up for the 33rd America's Cup: new British group Team Origin, South Africa's Shosholoza, Team Germany, Desafio Espanol and Team New Zealand.

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Subject: Spanish news

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