Organizers of the European Rugby Champions Cup have "been forced to subcontract the running of the inaugural tournament to the very organisation it is killing off," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. European Rugby Cup employees are "poised to administer the competition for the whole of next season in what is an ironic outcome from the civil war to engulf the club game in the northern hemisphere." European Professional Club Rugby, the "new umbrella body based in Neuchatel, Switzerland," has entered into a "service agreement" with ERC, providing a "stay of execution for the Dublin-based company which operated the Heineken Cup from its inception until the end of last season." The ERC will "continue to be wound up," but despite CEO Derek McGrath leaving in October, its remaining staff "face an uncertain future." They "are expected to be given first refusal on any job at the new body which mirrors their present role but around 16 staff are in limbo about whether they will be offered the opportunity to move to Neuchatel" (TELEGRAPH, 7/9).
Events and Attractions
San Diego and Bermuda "have been shortlisted as potential host" locations for the '17 America's Cup, according to Don Burgess of the BERMUDA SUN. Chicago, which also had been "under consideration, is now a likely venue" for the America's Cup World Series racing in '15 and '16. The America’s Cup Event Authority over the next few months will "work closely with both venues to finalize logistics requirements and commercial opportunities, as well as to establish the needed relationships with private and public entities to ensure a successful event." The host for the next America’s Cup will be announced "before the end of this year." Bermuda, having "made it to this final stage of the bidding process, will host the America’s Cup World Series no matter the outcome of the final venue selection, which will mean an influx of people to Bermuda’s shores for possible events" in '15 and or '16 (BERMUDA SUN, 7/9). Bermuda Premier Michael Dunkley said that hosting the event "would require a significant Island-wide effort -- and big upgrades in transport, hotels and tourism as a lasting benefit to the Island" (ROYAL GAZETTE, 7/9). In San Diego, Bill Center noted Bermuda will "offer a stronger financial package, including tax-free incentives." European challengers also "favor Bermuda because races there would be televised in prime time in Europe." But America’s Cup races in Bermuda "would have to be sailed offshore," and an American holder of the America’s Cup "has never defended outside" of the U.S. The wind conditions in Bermuda also are "much more variable during the summer than they are in San Diego" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/9).
WHATEVER WAY THE WIND BLOWS: In Chicago, Blake Schuster noted the prospect of bringing the America's Cup to Chicago "intrigued organizers, but one concern was whether the wind would hold up over the three weeks of the race." Holding the America's Cup World Series race will give the city "a chance to prove it's capable of conducting a major sailing event." Chicago Match Race Center Dir Tod Reynolds: "That's originally what we thought would be best for Chicago. Our downtown waterfront is perfectly suited for it." Schuster notes any chance of hosting the America's Cup after '17 "depends on who wins the event" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/9). The AP's Bernie Wilson noted the America's Cup "has never been on a lake," and Lake Michigan's wind "is variable because it comes from weather systems rather than the thermal effect that helps generate sea breezes." Oracle Team USA CEO Russell Coutts said of Chicago, "It would make a fantastic venue. We just need to understand the wind conditions a lot better" (AP, 7/8).