Lawyers still the only participants in Americas Cup.


The on again, off again, on again legal battle over the America’s cup has taken another turn. The quarrelling little schoolboys look set keep up the farce of seeing who can make the rules, not who can produce the best team of designers and competitors.

One wonders how the marketing departments at UBS and BMW feel about being involved in such high-profile non-sporting activity.

A panel of five judges split three to two to overturn a previous decision which had granted Larry Ellison’s San Francisco-based BMW Oracle the sole right to challenge the Swiss holder Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi.

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The Appellate Division of the New York Court ruled that the original, specially organised Spanish challenger, the Club Nautico Espanol de Vela, did indeed fulfill the terms required and threw out judgments made in both March and May this year by Supreme Court Judge Herman Cahn.

In theory the 10-month clock for the next Cup is re-set, but it is expected that, especially as the panel was split three to two, that Ellison’s challenging vehicle, the Golden Gate Yacht Club will seek a further appeal.

“We are surprised and disappointed by this ruling,” said BMW Oracle spokesman Tom Ehman.

Alinghi has already said that it could not now stage the next America’s Cup in Valencia next year. “We are delighted with this result,” said Bertarelli. “We can now continue with our vision of a multi-challenge event.”

No apologies then to the fans of sailing as a sport, or to the industry who used to be able to point to a competition that was on the brink of rivalling Formula 1 for class, technological innovation and skill. No concept of the gradual destruction of a brand that has existed for over 100 years, just a bunch of guys in suits who used to be sportsmen.

From Pilote Sport Blog