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Page last updated at 19:14 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 20:14 UK

Alinghi win America's Cup battle

Swiss America's Cup team Alinghi
Alinghi beat Team New Zealand to win the 32nd America's Cup

The America's Cup could revert to its original multi-team format for the next event after a New York appeals court ruled in favour of holders Alinghi.

The Swiss team were due to race America's BMW Oracle in a one-off multihull contest in 2009 after a legal battle over the rightful challengers.

Oracle claimed that Alinghi broke Cup rules when it installed a Spanish yacht club as the official challenger.

A court found in Oracle's favour but the decision has been reversed.

The ruling gives Alinghi the right to organise the 33rd America's Cup in conjunction with Club Nautico Espanol de Vela in Valencia, the backer of Spanish syndicate Desafio Espanol.

The court's decision validates our actions and enables us to put the America's Cup back on the water

Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli

But the Larry Ellison-bankrolled Oracle - whose host club is Golden Gate Yacht club of San Francisco - can appeal against the decision.

Oracle spokesman Tom Ehman said: "We're surprised and disappointed by this judgement."

Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi's Swiss backer, said he was delighted with the unexpected result.

"We can now continue with our vision of a multi-challenger event," said the bio-technology billionaire.

"The court's decision validates our actions and enables us to put the America's Cup back on the water."

The latest ruling stipulates that Alinghi must give "at least 10 months notice" before staging the next America's Cup, but it is likely that it will not be held until 2010 or 2011.

Several teams have already entered the next Cup, including Mascalzone Latino of Italy, Shosholoza of South Africa, Team Origin of Britain, Team New Zealand and United Internet Team Germany.

Alinghi beat Team New Zealand to win the America's Cup in Valencia in 2007.

Soon after, Alinghi named Desafio Espanol as the challenger of record, and set the rules with Club Nautico Espanol de Vela for the next Cup in Valencia in 2009.

606: DEBATE

But Oracle challenged the protocol, claiming Alinghi were building an unfair advantage, and took the Swiss team to court.

Organisers postponed the proposed 33rd America's Cup five days before the New York State Supreme Court found in Oracle's favour.

The court ruled that Alinghi had chosen an illegitimate yacht club as challenger because it does not hold an annual regatta.

Oracle were installed as challenger for a best-of-three head-to-head match and initially hoped to race in multihulls in October 2008.

Alinghi claimed they would not be able to build a boat in time and the race was rescheduled for March 2009.

The America's Cup was first raced for around the Isle of Wight in 1851.



see also
America's Cup set for March 2009
12 May 08 |  Other sport...
America's Cup goes back to court
27 Mar 08 |  Other sport...
America's Cup postponed over row
22 Nov 07 |  Sailing
Alinghi sailor fails doping test
01 Oct 07 |  Sailing
Coutts to lead Oracle challenge
24 Jul 07 |  Sailing
Alinghi secure America's Cup win
03 Jul 07 |  Sailing
America's Cup guide
16 Apr 07 |  Sailing


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