America’s Cup Jury hearing begins while Bertelli hints at withdrawal

Posted on 08 July 2013 by Valencia Sailing

Could this week see the number of official America’s Cup challengers dropping from an already record-low three to just two? That scenario isn’t any longer in the realm of science fiction, following the informal meeting Patrizio Bertelli held with Italian journalists held on Sunday evening at the Luna Rossa base in San Francisco.

The Italian fashion magnate stated that the chances of pulling the plug completely were at 50%. He isn’t interested in taking part in this America’s Cup and in fact he has been seriously contemplating the team’s withdrawal since a month. He claimed that New Zealanders had also thought about withdrawing but their multi-million sponsorship deals made that option simply impossible.

It is easy to understand why Bertelli is so upset with the current situation. Although, he’s passionate about sailing and the America’s Cup, he’s a businessman first and foremost and uses Luna Rossa as a highly-productive marketing tool for the Prada brand. From a sponsor perspective, especially one whose main objective is the Asian market, this edition of the America’s Cup failed to deliver on nearly everything that was promised. The America’s Cup World Series was a great sports success but failed to go to a venue outside Europe and the US, well-established markets for Prada. There aren’t any Asian challengers, thus reducing the allure the event can have in Asia. Finally, the presence of just four teams in San Francisco and the much smaller footprint of the event are factors that also reduce the interest for the US west coast market.

Will we ever see the Luna Rossa AC72 yacht taking part in any official race? Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

The International Jury started hearing applications from Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa at 9am local time, Monday morning. According to the official America’s Cup website, the two cases have been consolidated and will be heard together with parties being given the opportunity to speak to their submissions.

As Max Sirena stated frequently last week, although the two cases differ in their details they are indeed practically identical in substance and concern the AC72 class rule changes, regatta director Iain Murray unilaterally made, without the unanimous approval of the four participating teams.

International Jury chairman David Tillett says the hearing will last as long as is necessary to hear the evidence and he “would like” to have a decision by Wednesday.

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  1. Fate of America’s Cup Racing Could Rest in the Hands of Jury | Says:

    [...] Meanwhile, it is unclear what the New Zealand or Italian team might do if the jury ruling goes against them. But Patrizio Bertelli, the owner of the Italian team, already has hinted he might withdraw his team. [...]

  2. America's Cup Jury hearing begins while Bertell... Says:

    [...] This will certainly be a crucial week for the 34th America's Cup. The Jury started its hearing on Monday, 9am local time while Patrizio Bertelli stated on Sunday evening in an informal meeting with…  [...]



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