Statement by Captain Salvatore Sarno, Managing director Team Shosholoza:
“I am shocked and outraged at the way Team Shosholoza has been treated this week and condemn in the strongest terms the audacious action taken by the Consortio Valencia 2007 who have used the Spanish Police to seal off the South African America’s Cup base in Port America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, and ordered us to empty the base and vacate it immediately.
“I personally went to Valencia in September last year to meet with the Mr J Gisbert, the Managing Director of the Consortium and we agreed on 28th March as the deadline for vacating the base. In addition I have paid 90 000 euros to cover arrears in rent which became effective when Alinghi declared that there would be no more America’s Cup in Valencia. We have also supplied declarations from the Spanish Receiver of Revenue that Team Shosholoza has no outstanding debts or tax owed in Spain. In addition, because they were threatening to impound our equipment, we also supplied certificates of insurance and our custom bond as we need custom clearance in order to move our equipment.
We started packing up the base some months ago and had made arrangements for all the team’s equipment to be moved to storage facilities elsewhere in Valencia. However we were unable to start affecting our move because BMW Oracle Racing team, who occupy the adjacent base, had moved their containers and other equipment onto the quayside in front of the doors to the Shosholoza base during recent racing for the 33rd America’s Cup.
Yet incredibly, with over two weeks still in hand before our deadline to move expires, the Consortio Valencia decided not to honour their word and instead used the police to assist them in this audacious and outrageous action.
This is not a polite way to be treated. It is an abuse of power and not right what they have done to us. I have expressed my fury and disappointment in no uncertain terms in an open email to Mr J Gisbert of Consortio Valencia. The email is as follows:
Dear Mr Gisbert
I have been astonished to hear that this morning police officers have been at the base with a Court order to lock and seal it. Mr Moctar Fall who was preparing the material for the trasportation to the contracted wharehouse has been forced to leave the premise.
It seems that you had been duly informed of our preparation to leave the base and nevertheless you have preferred that the police sealed the base because you were under an erroneus impression
Your action remember to me the old racist apartheid regime who was governing our Country twenty years ago: same system, same action. Certainly you feel now very proud for having given a lesson to the Africans.
I want just to recall you that Team Shosholoza, the africans, played an important role in Valencia to have the public partecipating effectively to that historic event which was the 32nd Americas Cup.
We were the first team to take delivery of a base and establish the Team in your town. As you know from the certificate of Debt Clearance from the Receiver of Revenue, we have no debt in Valencia and we have duly paid our taxes. When we met in september I simply explained to you our situation; you agreed with me on the proposal I suggested and then…….you failed to respect the agreement.
Due to the above we stress to the public our dissatisfaction on the way you and the Authorities have treated guests in your country. I hardly believe that somebody can utilise such a bad determination against honest people like Team Shosholoza. Remember that your national soccer team will be guest in our Country in three months time: would you like that our Authorities will treat them in the same way??
Mr Gisbert you and Valencia 2007 are guilty of abuse of power and Team Shosholoza request that formal apologies be forwarded to the Team, miss Shirley Mullins and mr Moctar Fall.
It is understood that in case the closure of the base will delay our packing,transfer we will not be responsible anymore for such a delay.
Reacting to an article by editor Pierre Orphanidis posted on his Valencia Sailing Blogspot last night, Captain Sarno said the police seals had been removed this morning and that Team Shosholoza is now in the process of moving: Said Captain Sarno: “We are moving but I would like to stress that it is certainly not a sad end for Team Shosholoza.”