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Mon 2 Nov 2009 06:07 PM

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RAK's Crown Prince considers options on America's Cup

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi says in discussions with cup holders Alinghi.

Ras al-Khaimah is reviewing its options after a US judge ruled against it hosting the next America's Cup, its crown prince said on Monday, insisting security fears were unfounded.

Last week's ruling, a setback to defending champion Alinghi who chose the site for the race against challenger BMW Oracle, was based on yachting rules dictating that the cup, the sport's most prestigious race, must be held in the southern hemisphere.

"We are in discussions with the Alinghi team, and they are reviewing their position, and we are looking at our different options," Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi, crown prince and deputy ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, told Reuters.

During a two-year legal battle between the two teams, BMW Oracle had contended that holding the race in Ras al-Khaimah next February would create a security risk for US sailors due to possible attacks from al Qaeda or other militant groups, and also cited the emirate's proximity to Iran.

"It was unfortunate for Oracle to bring Ras al-Khaimah and the (United Arab) Emirates into the issue between them," Sheikh Saud said.

Al Qaeda launched a campaign to destabilise neighbouring Saudi Arabia in 2003.

A failed assassination attempt on the deputy interior minister in August was the first incident since 2006. There have been few attacks in other Gulf countries and none in the UAE.

Ras al-Khaimah is the UAE's closest emirate to Iran, separated by about 80 miles across the Gulf.

Sheikh Saud declined to say how much the emirate had invested in the run-up to the cup, nor would he comment on how it would recover any funds lost.

Preparations in the emirate had included dredging work for an artificial island to help create a lagoon. (Reuters)

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Goran 10 years ago

It is a real shame that Americas Cup cannot take place in RAK, what a great feast that would have been. There is tennis, golf and now F1 in other Emirates. This is a great opportunity for Ras Al Khaimah to claim sailing as its sport. We would love to see Cups take place and to see the VOR and others stop by in the future. Happy sailing!

C.B.Osborne 10 years ago

Yes, RAK must be very disappointed, but it must learn to walk, before it can run. Infrastructure would have let it down and perhaps tarnished it`s reputation to host future events, sailing or otherwise.

Guillaume 10 years ago

I think RAK is well positionned in terms of infrastructure to welcome the America's Cup because they have tthe money to have huge quality infrastructures. Look at the F1 in Abu Dhabi last week, is there any pronlem of infrastructures?