Yachting: Bertarelli wary of new America's Cup rules-maker

GENEVA - America's Cup loser Alinghi doubts whether the new Rome-based Challenger of Record will act independently of new US cup-holder BMW Oracle Racing.

Club Nautico di Roma - and its team Mascalzone Latino - was confirmed as the Challenger of Record by BMW Oracle after it won the cup on Monday (NZT) in a rare match race. BMW Oracle's home yacht club, Golden Gate, wants a traditional regatta for the 34th America's Cup, and believes CNR will be a fair representative of all the challengers at the next race.

Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli was sceptical today.

He issued the same charge of manipulation he was accused of after his Swiss team won the cup for a second time in 2007.

Bertarelli's initial choice of a little-known Spanish yacht club to shape the cup rules was overturned by an American court, allowing Alinghi to be challenged by BMW Oracle.

"The Challenger of Record has to do its work and represent us," Bertarelli said. "It has to start speaking on our behalf and not on behalf of the defender."

The latest cup was blighted by 2 years of legal disputes - that haven't concluded yet - between Bertarelli and BMW Oracle's chief Larry Ellison.

Bertarelli said Alinghi's attempt to regain the cup will depend on whether the next set of rules are fair.

"If there's a protocol - rules - and someone who represents us in these discussions so that we have a chance, and if there's a group of strong challengers, why not?" he said.

Biotech mogul Bertarelli, who led the first European team to win the America's Cup in 2003, acknowledged his hesitation to confirm a challenge could lead BMW Oracle to try and poach his best sailors.

"How can I start hiring people if I don't know what to do with them?" Bertarelli said.

- AP


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