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Oracle and Alinghi told to contest America's Cup

BMW Oracle Racing in Valencia
BMW Oracle are set to face holders Alinghi in a multihull duel in Valencia

The 33rd America's Cup is set to take place as planned next month after a New York judge said she will not rule on the latest legal challenge until March.

The three-race multihull duel between holders Alinghi and challengers BMW Oracle is scheduled to start in Valencia, Spain, from 8 February.

The event had been in doubt because of ongoing legal rows between the teams.

In the latest, Oracle accused Swiss team Alinghi of breaking nationality rules by using US-made sails.

But Judge Shirley Kornreich of the Supreme Court of the State of New York said on Friday that she will not hear the case until March and suggested that racing can go ahead as planned.

"This means the 33rd America's Cup is free to proceed as ordered by previous New York rulings: in Valencia on the 8, 10 and 12 February," said an Alinghi statement.

The Deed of Gift, the 19th century set of rules that govern the oldest competition in international sport, says that equipment must be manufactured in the country in which the team is registered.

Alinghi has denied its sails violate the Deed of Gift and warned that if the court ruled in Oracle's favour it would forfeit the contest.


But the Swiss syndicate's owner, biotechnology billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, described Korneich's decision as "excellent news."

"We are delighted that BMW Oracle's attempts to disqualify Alinghi and to win the America's Cup in court have been denied. We look forward to meeting them on the start line here in Valencia to race for the Cup, something they can no longer try to avoid," he said.

The San Francisco-based Oracle team previously said that if the court does not make a ruling before 8 February, it would take part "under protest" and warned that the result could be overturned.

A spokesman for the team, Tom Ehman, said: "It's unfortunate the legality of Alinghi's American-made sails probably will not be decided before the match. However, it will be decided eventually."

Alinghi and Oracle, owned by US software billionaire Larry Ellison, have been arguing over the rules of the America's Cup since Alinghi won the last edition in Valencia in July 2007.

The New York court ruled in April 2009 that the Cup should be settled by a one-on-one multihull duel between the two sides in February 2009.

Traditionally the event features a host of teams racing in a challenger series to decide who takes on the holders for the Cup.

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

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see also
Oracle set sail despite Cup row
19 Jan 10 |  Sailing
Court confirms Spain as Cup venue
15 Dec 09 |  Sailing
Alinghi propose Australia as host
05 Nov 09 |  Sailing
America's Cup battle set for UAE
05 Aug 09 |  Sailing
GB duo eye future America's Cup
25 Jun 09 |  Sailing
Date set for 33rd America's Cup
14 May 09 |  Sailing
Alinghi win America's Cup battle
29 Jul 08 |  Other sport...
America's Cup goes back to court
27 Mar 08 |  Other sport...
Alinghi secure America's Cup win
03 Jul 07 |  Sailing
America's Cup guide
16 Apr 07 |  Sailing

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