Oracle still considering legal action
DUNCAN JOHNSTONE IN SAN FRANCISCO
Oracle heavyweights Sir Russell Coutts and Jimmy Spithill have done little to dampen speculation the syndicate may take legal action if they lose the America's Cup to Team New Zealand.
Those whispers have been floating around the waterfront for some time, as reported by Fairfax yesterday.
Oracle are still seething over the penalties imposed on them by the International Jury for cheating, primarily the loss of two competition points and one of the best wingsail trimmers Dirk de Ridder, who was banned from the final as one of four syndicate members given varying suspensions.
Under the very rules they created for this event, Oracle have had no recourse while the regatta plays out.
But could they invoke some form of retrospective legal action once the match is completed should Team New Zealand win the Cup?
The New York Times put that that theory to Coutts and quoted his response as: "Well, we'll wait and see, won't we? I stick to what I said right at the beginning. I think the decision was outrageous."
Spithill was asked about the speculation as he fronted the media following Oracle's fifth win a row yesterday, a victory that closed them to 8-6 on the scoreboard but actually 8-all with the Kiwis in races on the water.
"We are sailors, we are athletes, we are not about the politics and all that sort of stuff," deflected Spithill.
"Life's not fair sometimes but the beauty of sport is, you can win if you go out and race. That's' what we are about.
"We can win this cup, they can take away as many races as they want, but for us, we know we can win this cup if we win the next three races, so we can control our own destiny there."
Barker said the prospect of any rearguard legal action from Oracle "is not something we have thought about".
Like Spithill, he was determined to try to get the business done on the water, after spending so long on match-point and having to suffer at Oracle's comeback wins and Spithill's persistent taunts.
If Oracle's comeback continued today, they would in effect have claimed the ninth win that would have seen them hold on to the cup had they not had to start in arrears.
It would be an interesting challenge. Oracle admitted tampering with their AC45s used to win the last two world series.
Their beef has been with the jury's penalties imposed on them, the harshest in the 162-year history of the event.
Lawyers representing some of their banned team members have also raised questions over the process that saw the jury undertake both the investigation process and then the sentencing.
- © Fairfax NZ News