Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yet another twist in the CNEV saga

Manuel Chirivella (left), vice president of the RFEV and president of the CNEV, and Gerardo Pombo, president of the RFEV. Barcelona, 3 November 2007. Photo copyright Sport

The CNEV "saga" that is haunting the 33rd America's Cup took another interesting twist on Saturday, during a press conference given by Gerardo Pombo and Manuel Chirivella. The two men, respectively president and vice-president of the Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV), talked to an audience of dozens of Spanish journalists on the opening day of the Barcelona Boat Show.

According to an article that appeared on Sunday's "Sport" (Spain's third largest sports newspaper), journalists were surprised to hear from Manuel Chirivella (president of the CNEV) that they created the yacht club because "they were told so by part of Valencia's authorities", while Pombo stated that they did it "for the well being of Spain, in agreement with all institutions involved in the project", adding that they "were part of a necessity". Not only that, Chirivella went on to say that the CNEV was a "legal adjustment" in order to allow Desafío Español to become the Challenger of Record. Talking about shooting one's own foot...

Another interesting comment by both men was to also put the blame on Iberdrola, the Spanish utilities giant and main sponsor of Desafío Español. According to them, Iberdrola would have kept on funding Desafío Español only if didn't represent an already-existing yacht club, such as Valencia's yacht club, a mere mile down the road from Port America's Cup. Given that demand it was obvious there were hardly any alternatives. It's clear now the blaming game has started.

Still, the statement of the year was to come later during the conference from Pombo when he declared that "it's the Spanish law that counts, not the American one". As a result, with a swift move of his magical stick Mr Pombo solved the case pending in the New York Supreme Court. Nevertheless, Chirivella commented that "depending on the decision of the NY Supreme Court there is the possibility of appealing; whether we consider it opportune is another issue". Clearly, the triumphalism of his past declarations has subsided.

What really saddens us is the fact that the pinnacle of professional sailing depends on these two individuals desperately seeking their 15 minutes of fame and two whimsical, stubborn billionaires that will not give in to any logical arguments. Right from the start it was a recipe for failure.



At 10:44 PM, Blogger folkenbolt said...

Someone should inform of those statements the NY Court. I think many people in US could find them VERY interesting!
Could those worlds prelude to an announcement of failure for the CNEV attempt to have the cup in Valencia?
I think so and I hope it too!
I think all events ,up to now, suggest that there's been an attempt to sell the America's Cup to the "best offerer" , exchanging it with the unconditional acceptance of the Defender's will.
That would be a great shame for the dignity of this ancient and glorious sail challenge.


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