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Alinghi narrows venue search

Alinghi brought the cup to Europe for the first time in its 152-year history.
Alinghi brought the cup to Europe for the first time in its 152-year history.

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AMERICA'S CUP
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A CUP OF FIRSTS
  • Alinghi becomes first European team to win Cup

  • Alinghi becomes first team to win Cup on first attempt since 1851

  • Alinghi becomes first landlocked country to win Cup

  • Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts becomes most successful Cup skipper

  • Team New Zealand becomes first team to pull out of two Cup races

GENEVA, Switzerland -- Eight cities in southern Europe have been shortlisted from a list of over 60 potential candidates to host the 32nd America's Cup in 2007.

Team Alinghi, which won the cup earlier this month, cannot host the defense because it represents landlocked Switzerland and it is searching for an ocean venue.

Cities as far north as Copenhagen in Denmark and Cork in Ireland and as far east as Malta in the Mediterranean have expressed interest in hosting the event.

The host city will benefit from an increase in tourism, employment, new infrastructure and revenues from the competing teams.

Auckland, New Zealand, is believed to have had increased revenues in excess of $300 million for each of its cup defenses -- 2000 and 2003.

The next cup will mark the first time ever the event will not be held in the country of the cup holders.

After winning the regatta, skipper Russell Coutts said that consistent winds would be the most important criteria for selection of a venue.

Ernesto Bertarelli, the principal backer of the Alinghi team, said that he had a preference for the warmer climate of southern Europe.

The eight cities chosen for further evaluation by Alinghi are Barcelona, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal, Marseille in France and Naples, Porto Cervo and Elba in Italy.

Under the terms of the new America's Cup Protocol, AC Management will assist with the organization of the event.

One of its responsibilities is to select the host site for the America's Cup. To ensure the success of this process, experts which specialize in the organization of sporting events on an international scale have been brought in.

Michel Bonnefous, who is in charge of the selection process, said: "We have identified eight sites and sent them a request for additional technical information, especially concerning meteorology, facilities and infrastructure."

At the end of May four of the eight cities will be dismissed and the remaining will be asked to provide a complete application dossier.

Several European tycoons have tried over 15 decades to win the America's Cup, but only Bertarelli has succeeded.

"For the first time, the America's Cup will take place in Europe. This is the beginning of a great adventure and I am happy to be building the foundations of this historic event," Bonnefous said.


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