The fate of the 33rd America's Cup Match is again to return to the New York Courts with the latest round of litigation surrounding the proposed venue, Ras al-Khaimah in the UAE.
The America's Cup Defender, the Société Nautique de Geneve (represented on the water by the Alinghi team) announced back at the start of August that they had chosen Ras al-Khaimah in the UAE as the venue for the 33rd America's Cup Match, with the best-of-three race Match to take place at the start of February 2010. However, on Thursday, (1 October) the Golden Gate Yacht Yacht (represented on the water by the BMW ORACLE Racing team), the Challenger of Record, asked the New York Courts to reject Ras al-Khaimah as the venue, arguing the decision to select a Northern Hemisphere venue other than Valencia is contrary to the provisions in the Deed of Gift (the document which governs the America's Cup).
The full release from the Golden Gate Yacht Club reads…
'The Golden Gate Yacht Club, Challenger of Record for the 33rd America's Cup, has requested the New York Supreme Court to reject Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) as the venue for the 33rd Americas Cup and replace it with Valencia. The Spanish city hosted the 32nd America's Cup in July 2007.
'Under the America's Cup Deed of Gift, for a match in February the Defender, Société Nautique de Geneve (Alinghi's yacht club) cannot select a Northern Hemisphere location without GGYC's mutual consent.
'The only exception is Valencia, which the court's April 7, 2009 decision expressly permits.
'GGYC has consistently reminded SNG that, without our mutual consent, any other venue they select would have to be fully compliant with the Deed of Gift.
'In good faith, however, BMW Oracle Racing sent a team to inspect SNG's proposed venue, and, although the team was met warmly by the local authorities, it was clear that the RAK venue fails on every key measure necessary for a successful America's Cup, including: lack of infrastructure, security and wind.
'Moreover, in light of the developing situation in the Arabian Gulf region, Ras al-Khaimah is particularly unsuitable. SNG's proposed course area is within 17 miles of islands occupied by Iran in a current territorial dispute with the United Arab Emirates - of which Ras al-Khaima is a member state.
'"The choice of RAK underscores SNG's abject failure in its responsibilities as Trustee of the America's Cup," said Russell Coutts, skipper and CEO of GGYC's BMW Oracle Racing team. "It seems that the Defender is prepared to go to any lengths to make this America's Cup a travesty."'
In response, Alinghi released the following statement from the team's skipper Brad Butterworth…
"Larry Ellison, Russell Coutts and their yacht club, the Golden Gate, seem to believe that the 33rd America's Cup can be won in court as their seventh legal challenge demonstrates. Our team is ready to compete in Ras al Khaimah, UAE, the official venue for the 33rd America's Cup and will begin four months of intensive training before the start of the America's Cup Match on 8 February 2010.
"BMW Oracle's latest lawsuit is further proof of their unsportsmanlike behaviour. We will only return to the legal process to show that it is sporting character and sailing strategy that wins races, not litigation. Meanwhile our Cup preparations and training will continue in Ras al Khaimah where we hope they will deign to join us for the America's Cup Match.
"As Trustee of the America's Cup, we are convinced that Ras al Khaimah is the perfect and legitimate venue for the 33rd edition of sport's oldest trophy. New York Supreme Court Justice Cahn's order of 2008 stated that 'the location of the match shall be in Valencia or any other location selected by SNG'. As far as BMW Oracle's security concerns: Tiger Woods plays in the UAE every year, Roger Federer plays here every year, and even Russell Coutts sails here every year.
"Their claims regarding the Deed of Gift prevailing over the order of the Court are in conflict with previous submissions on the date of the match. Their complaints as to safety are not truly held by them, demonstrated by the fact that they have relocated personnel to Ras Al Khaimah, and have equipment at the venue in preparation for the Match.
"We believe this lawsuit is yet another tactic employed by Larry Ellison and BMW Oracle to avoid racing us for the Cup on the water."
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