America's Cup title holder Alinghi has chosen the United Arab Emirates to host the next competition in February, drawing criticism from challengers BMW-Oracle, who say they should have been party to the decision.
REUTERS - The United Arab Emirates has been named as the venue for the America's Cup race which will be held in February, the defending champions Alinghi said on Wednesday.
"Ras al-Khaimah, in the United Arab Emirates, will be the host country for the 33rd America's Cup," said Fred Meyer, vice-commodore of the Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), in a statement issued by the team.
"This is a venue that offers perfect weather and great sailing conditions for a match in February; the authorities have shown tremendous interest in, and support for hosting the America's Cup," added Meyer.
Alinghi, who sail under the colours of the SNG and are backed by billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, have the right to choose the venue as the defending champions.
However, their opponents the BMW-Oracle team, who sail under the colours of the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), are unhappy the venue was chosen without their mutual consent and said in a statement they were reviewing their options.
It added: "GGYC believes SNG's choice of this venue, without our mutual consent, is contrary to the Deed of Gift and the decisions and orders of the New York courts".
The two sides have been locked in a legal dispute for the last two years over the terms of the event, which are laid out in the Deed of Gift.
BMW-Oracle have accused Alinghi of unfairly changing the rules of the race and also believe SNG have installed an engine on their racing boat that is not permitted by sailing rules.
The two sides have been ordered to appear in a New York court on Aug. 10 for a hearing on race guidelines.
"Our absolute priorities in making this decision are the prevailing weather conditions and the resulting safety that they bring to both teams," said Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth.
"We looked everywhere for a venue that suited having good racing for the match dates in February.
"We had trained in the UAE in the winter with Alinghi before and in the end we settled on Ras al-Khaimah in particular because of the infrastructure and because it has a great building sea breeze during the day, similar to Mediterranean conditions in the summer, making it good for these boats and safe for all concerned."
Alinghi won the America's Cup in 2003 and successfully defended the title four years later in Valencia, Spain.
Date created : 2009-08-05