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Alinghi propose radical America's Cup changes

Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli has proposed changing the format of the America's Cup in favour of a regatta involving the defenders from the start.

Under the current format, known as the Deed of Gift, the challengers race each other to decide who will take on the holders in a head-to-head event.

But in order to break a stalemate over the next event, the Swiss billionaire, head of the defending champions, said on Friday it was time to revamp the competition.

The 2009 Cup is in doubt after a legal battle between Alinghi and BMW Oracle.

In an open letter, Bertarelli said the rules should be changed so that no one could manipulate them to their own benefit and that all teams – including the defender – should race each other for the Cup. He also proposed setting a long-term schedule for future America's Cups.

Alinghi beat Team New Zealand to win the 32nd America's Cup, sailing's most prestigious prize, in Valencia, Spain, in July.

The Swiss team set the rules for the next Cup with a Spanish yacht club, but the American syndicate BMW Oracle challenged the protocol, claiming Alinghi were building an unfair advantage, and won the case.

Talks are planned between the American and Swiss teams on Monday December 10.

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