Louis Vuitton Divorces America's Cup

Louis Vuitton declares it won't give its name to the America's Cup.

Louis Vuitton announced on Friday it was ending its lengthy sponsorship association with the America's Cup.

The French luxury design house has backed the America's Cup qualifying competition which bears its name and was won this year by Emirates team New Zealand since 1983.

But it is unhappy over new rules in place for the 33rd edition, likely to be held in Valencia in 2009, which it believes changes the nature of sport's oldest trophy.

A statement issued by the company said: "Louis Vuitton has decided not to give its name this time to the challengers qualifying competition but will watch with interest the evolition of the event in the future.

"New America's Cup rules suggest a more commercial approach and the signed protocol is already being challenged by some teams.

"There is as well the risk of a significant decrease in the number of teams participating."

Friday's decision comes afer a souring of relations between Louis Vuitton and ACM, the America's Cup organising committee established by Swiss defender Alinghi.

It comes just weeks after Alinghi successfully defending its title against Emirates New Zealand, winner of this year's Louis Vuitton Cup.

The French company meanwhile has not ruled going it alone and organizing its own event.


AFP 131303 GMT 07 07

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