Greece’s already troubled Olympic sports federations have suffered a new series of cuts in state funding, that puts their future in doubt.
The government’s proposals for the 2014 budget have raised concerns among the federations as they cannot afford to pay anything but basic operation costs, just 10 years on from the 2004 Athens Olympics.
The president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC), Spyros Capralos, held an emergency meeting on Friday March 14th with the presidents of several federations and the Minister of Culture and Sports, Giannis Adrianos, as well as with the General Secretary of Sports, Kyriaki Giannakidou.
The meeting lasted for five hours, and it was reported that the Greek state will grant the federations free use of state-owned venues for training and staging national competitions. Among the state’s commitments was to cover the cost of doping controls.
“While the government showed a willingness to listen to everyone, something which is very positive, in fact the situation regarding the budgets for 2014 has not changed and, yes, it would be fair to say that, at the moment, we are being asked to survive on these crumbs,” said the president of the Cycling Federation, Athanasios Terzis, after the meeting.
The Hellenic Amateur Athletic Association (SEGAS) revealed that its budget has suffered a 48 percent cut compared to 2013’s budget – and 70 percent compared to the budget in 2012.
SEGAS released an official announcement in which it said that “the Greek government made crystal clear that sports are not among its priorities.”
As a result of this situation many Greek athletes will have no other choice except to quit. Indeed, Greek rower, Stergos Papachristou, has announced that he will retire at just 28 years old, due to financial difficulties.