Oracle's latest offer gets rejected by the Swiss. Matthew Sheahan reports on the latest

By 5pm New York time, Alinghi will know whether BMW Oracle is in or out for the next America’s Cup according to the deadline set by the Swiss earlier this week.

Faced with the deadline the American team agreed to settle, but subject to a number of conditions being satisfied. Once again in this on-going saga, the prospects for agreement looked close, but this time the Swiss stuck to their guns, refusing to negotiate any further.

Indeed, so silent has the Swiss team been since issuing the ultimatum that it was BMW Oracle that sent out the news once the deadline for their peace offering had expired.

The statement issued by the Golden Gate Yacht Club read:

A joint proposal from three current challengers and the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) to keep the next America’s Cup on track for Valencia in 2009 was rejected by Alinghi today.

The new proposal had been worked out and formally endorsed by Emirates Team New Zealand, Team Origin, and Team Shosholoza and GGYC, who would drop its court case.

However within a short time of receiving the proposal Alinghi rejected it via a letter, without any reference to the specific points it made or the new concessions offered.

Russell Coutts, CEO of the GGYC’s team, said that there had been indications over recent weeks that Alinghi have been planning to postpone the event for commercial reasons. These now appear likely to be proven correct.

“This confirms that the people who are supposed to promote the regatta are instead the ones who are now resisting everyone else’s efforts to get it back on track,” Coutts said.

“There is no reason for the event to be delayed. Together with a majority of the challengers we have delivered a fair, genuine and honorable best last shot. Alinghi’s rejection of this is a disgrace and can only be taken to indicate they reached a point probably long ago where they do not in fact want the event to go ahead as planned.

“Their actions can only mean they have decided to delay the event and use the GGYC as the excuse. It will come as no surprise if they do this fairly soon.

“I think a lot of people will be really shocked by this. Personally I have real trouble believing that this letter of rejection has in fact been written by Brad Butterworth as its tone is entirely defensive, legalistic and indirectly insulting to the input of challengers.”

Powerful stuff.

So as the clock counts down could this be the beginning of the end for any plans to hold the next America’s Cup in 2009? Perhaps the most interesting point at present is the suggestion that the Cup holders, ‘do not in fact want the event to go ahead as planned.’

If the Cup plans do come off the rails could this be food for thought?