Emirate Files Amicus Brief over Suitability to Host America’s Cup
[Source: Ras Al-Khaimah] Today, the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), one of the seven United Arab Emirates (UAE), filed an amicus curiae brief defending its suitability to hold the 33rd installment of the America’s Cup sailing competition in February 2010. The submission is in response to a meritless motion filed on October 1, 2009 in New York State Supreme Court by the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) alleging that the emirate lacks necessary infrastructure for such an event and cannot guarantee the safety of the crew of the GGYC representative team, BMW Oracle Racing.
“Ras Al Khaimah is surprised and offended by GGYC’s attacks both in this litigation and publicly, which have been widely reported,” stated Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority. “Because these accusations about RAK are untrue and unfair, we felt it was necessary for us to present the court with a full and accurate picture of the safety and security of RAK. We also felt compelled to inform the court about the numerous infrastructure improvements RAK has undertaken in preparation for the America’s Cup and defend our international reputation,” he added.
RAK believes this is a veiled attempt by the GGYC and its principal sponsor, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to have the event moved to a venue that they perceive better suits the Oracle BMW yacht. GGYC has made statements to the court and the media that cannot be substantiated with facts. This comes despite the fact that the UAE has demonstrated a commitment to the development of the sport of sailing and has hosted a number of international sailing events.
In RAK’s amicus brief and Dr. Massaad’s supporting affirmation, RAK systematically addresses the baseless charges that RAK and by extension, the United Arab Emirates, are unsafe. The UAE maintains one of the lowest crime rates in the world, hosts more than 10 million visitors a year and is home to approximately 180,000 US nationals. In fact, Oracle’s Middle East headquarters are located within a 45 minute drive of the America’s Cup venue and BMW Oracle Racing is scheduled to compete in the Dubai RC44 Gold Cup next month.
UAE has successfully hosted numerous high profile international events, including the Dubai World Cup (the world’s richest horse race with a $6 million purse this year), the Dubai World Golf Championship featuring Tiger Woods, the World Tennis Championship featuring Roger Federer and the Rugby Sevens World Cup. In the coming year the UAE will host the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, the FIFA World Club Championship, and several concerts by the largest names in the music industry including Beyoncé and Aerosmith.
RAK was selected on August 5, 2009 to host the America’s Cup. With six months to conclude preparations for the event, RAK has spent over $120 million to develop the venue’s infrastructure including the development of a 5 million square meter luxury resort island set around a secured marina.
Prior to this current filing, BMW Oracle had never expressed concern over the safety of the venue. To the contrary, the team’s security advisor, following his September visit to review RAK's preparations, stated to Dr. Massaad in an email that his risk assessment report would be positive and that he looked forward to “making the event a huge success and demonstrating what a safe and beautiful emirate Ras Al Khaimah is.”