Bailout tranche sees main Athens pool reopen

By George Georgakopoulos

The disbursement of the bailout funds to Greece this week seems to have had an immediate impact on Greek sport, at least in swimming, as Kathimerini English Edition reveals that the Athens’s main pool, Zappio, is about to reopen after the Christmas holidays, following its closure last month for lack of cash to acquire heating oil.

Zappio, the pool where the national swimming and water polo teams train as well as several clubs such as Ethnikos Athens, Panathinaikos and even the Chios water polo team, has secured the funds for heating throughout the winter thanks to a reported intervention by the President of the Republic himself, Karolos Papoulias.

Kathimerini understands that former Ethnikos champion Papoulias (who had excelled in pole vault and in volleyball) has requested Deputy Minister for Sports Yiannis Ioannidis to approve of an emergency funding of 130,000 euros for the heating oil that Zappio requires for the season.

With some more cash in its hands after the arrival of the bailout cash from its creditors, the government has reportedly approved of the funding and Zappio will reopen for the swimmers using it from next month.

The pool’s heating needs amount to about 30,000 euros per month, sources say, given the increased special consumption tax on heating oil.

This comes one day after Papoulias received the junior women’s national water polo team, that won the world championship earlier this month, and two days after Ioannidis’s statement at an event in honor of Greece’s Olympians that “the government will do all it can to keep swimming pools open.”