Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia ('RYCCS') and Mascalzone Latino today asked New York State's highest court, the Court of Appeals, to overturn a lower court's ruling that enabled the America's Cup Defender, Alinghi, and its host yacht club, Sociétè Nautique de Genévè (SNG) to accept a 'sham' yacht club as Challenger of Record for the 33rd America's Cup.
The amicus curiae ('friend of the Court') brief read, 'SNG has breached its fiduciary duties and violated the Deed of Gift by accepting as the Challenger of Record (Club Náutico Español de Vela) CNEV, a newly manufactured entity of no substance whatsoever which had never held an annual regatta. SNG did this to get CNEV to go along with the outrageous and unprecedented Protocol for the 33rd America's Cup which grants SNG unchecked authority and eliminates challenger rights.'
Said Vincenzo Onorato, 'This is more than a simple dispute between two yacht clubs or two sailing teams. In fact, the Court of Appeal's decision will determine whether the America's Cup - yacht racing's most prestigious trophy and the oldest trophy in international sport - will remain one of the most-sought titles in the world, or instead lose its importance by becoming a one-sided affair controlled by the Defender.'
Said Alessandra Pandarese, general counsel of Mascalzone Latino and former Chair of the Challenger Commission, 'RYCCS and Mascalzone Latino are gravely concerned that the Appellate Division's decision, if not reversed, will open the door for Defenders to manufacture challenges for the Cup and ensure their own long-term dominance, not through their success on the water but on creating and enforcing unfair, one-sided and anti-competitive rules.'
Mr. Onorato added, 'We have great interest, passion and enthusiasm for this event, and I truly believe that GGYC is representing the voice of those who really care about the Cup. But I - like many others - would like to see this resolved out of court if possible, and Mascalzone Latino has actively attempted to resolve this dispute by proposing that AC33 be a multiple challenger event held in the 2010-2011 timeframe, that the Protocol be substantially the same as the well-respected protocol of AC 32, that we use V5 America's Cup yachts, and that all competitors work for a new design to be applied into AC 34. Our proposal is even more realistic now given the current economic circumstances around the world.'