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Hearings Begin In America’s Cup Scandal, Oracle Team USA May Have To Forfeit Cup Match

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Oracle Team USA sails their AC72 during a practice run before the seventh race of the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Francisco, California on August 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Oracle Team USA sails their AC72 during a practice run before the seventh race of the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Francisco, California on August 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An international jury has begun hearings into what could be one of the biggest scandals in the 162-year history of the America’s Cup.

The panel is investigating an admission by defending champion Oracle Team USA that it illegally modified two of three prototype boats it sailed in four warmup regattas last year and earlier this year.

The jury held a hearing Monday for individuals being investigated under Rule 69 of the Racing Rules of Sailing, which deals with gross misconduct. The jury has scheduled a hearing for Thursday dealing with Protocol Article 60, which is aimed at protecting the reputation of the America’s Cup.

The jury could impose unprecedented punishment, including Oracle Team USA having to forfeit races in the best-of-17 America’s Cup match against Emirates Team New Zealand starting Sept. 7.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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