19 Dec 2008

Questions remain over America's Cup competitors

1:08 pm on 19 December 2008

Eighteen challengers have signed up for sailing's America's Cup at the close of entries.

However an ongoing legal battle and the global recession mean continuing uncertainty remains over who will race and when.

Almost all those who competed in Valencia in 2007 have signed up. The exception is the Russell Coutts-led BMW Oracle which earlier announced it would continue in court to have the rules for event declared invalid.

Newcomers include a Greek and a Russian team and five new Italian entries.

Defender Alinghi hopes racing can start next July, but that depends on a United States appeal court rejecting BMW Oracle's final legal challenge.

The recession, which has hit sporting sponsorship, means some of the 18 hopefuls are unlikely to materialise and as few as half a dozen might find the $100 million needed to fund a serious challenge.

Team New Zealand says its campaign is fully funded and it would be well-placed for a 2010 Cup regatta.