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America's Cup: Second challenger withdraws, leaves substantial debt

'Green Comm Racing (left) straddles Artemis Racing before the start of the final race of the America’s Cup World series, Plymouth causing damage to the Swedish entry assessed at E100,000'    Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com©    Click Here to view large photo

A second challenger for the 34th America's Cup, Green Comm, based in Spain, has announced it has withdrawn from the 34th America's Cup.

A spokesman for the team had previously stated that the team was 200% sure of having the necessary funding to continue through the America's Cup World Series and go onto the Regatta itself.

A statement posted on the leading European website vsail.info says:

In December of 2011 Green Comm reached collaboration agreements with the Regional Government of Lombardy (Italy) and the Circolo de Vela Gargnano that seemed to have secured the necessary funding to complete the participation of the syndicate, not only in the 2012 events but also in the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2013 with the AC72?s.

The Real Club Náutico de Valencia has been watching the development of this agreement, vital for the continuation of the campaign in 2012. Unfortunately, these expectations have not been fulfilled and given the enormous difficulty in securing other sponsorship that would allow to keep a challenge with the required rigor and dignity and given the current economic climate, on April the fifth the Real Club Náutico de Valencia informed Golden Gate Yacht Club that it relinquished the challenge presented in February of 2011, resignation that was accepted on April 10th, 2012.


It would seem that the team had not paid an assessment of damages made by the International Jury to America's Cup Regatta Management and payable by the Spanish challenger of 80,000Euros following damage to Aleph and Artemis Racing during an ACWS event.

As repairer of both boats, ACRM assumed recovery of the debt.

The Americas Cup Jury Notice sets out the chain of events leading right to the end of March, at which point the Int Jury received a note from Manuel Pons, the President of Real Club Nautico de Valencia, who said they were unaware of the award of damages against their team.

It transpired that while the team had registered an email address when lodging its Challenge but claims that it had not accessed the email address: The RCNV now understands that the communications from the Jury have been properly addressed to the stipulated addresses for service of the Jury. We do not dispute that fact, but at the same time we do desire to bring to the attention of the Jury, that the RCNV had no news, notifications or knowledge, of this procedure and that the e-mail address submitted in our notice of Challenge, for the RCNV, was never used. said Pons in a further note to the International Jury.

The matter had been placed under confidentiality by the Int Jury for some time.

A final deadline for payment of the funds was set for 9 April 2012. On 10 April 2012, the Int Jury says it received advice from the America's Cup Trustee (Golden Gate YC) that Green Comm that it had withdrawn from the 34th America's Cup and America's Cup World Series. Previously the team was threatened with Disqualification from the events by the International Jury on 10 April, if it did not settle with ACRM or it had not already withdrawn.

The Club elected to jump rather than being pushed and withdrew from the 34th America's Cup.

The Int Jury responded by awarding a further amount of almost 9,000Euros against the team meaning that ACRM is owed close to 90,000Euros. Under the America's Cup Protocol while the teams are seen by fans as the Entry it in fact the Clubs who have the formal undertaking and lodge the Challenge for the America's Cup. The implication being that if a team withdraws or has debt with the Event organisers, then it is the Club that is liable, in the first instance, who must then have recourse to its team.

The withdrawal of Green Comm reduces the America's Cup World Series to eight teams, including the Oracle Racing bankrolled Ben Ainslie Racing which will not join the circuit until September 2012.

There are just four teams, being three Challengers and one Defender entered for the 34th America's Cup for which entries close in just over five weeks time on 1 June 2012. If the entry numbers remain at that level it will be the lowest entry Louis Vuitton Cup since 1983 when seven Challengers competed in the Challenger Selection Series.


by Richard Gladwell

  

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2:19 AM Wed 18 Apr 2012GMT


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