Sacking could speed up Olympic Village project

The sacking of a government agency director in charge of building Greece’s $260 million Athens 2004 Olympic Village could spur action on the delayed project, sources among the Games organizers said yesterday. The village, which is the country’s biggest-ever housing project, is among several enterprises lagging despite repeated International Olympic Committee (IOC) warnings to Greece. Giorgos Papavassiliou, president of the Organization of Labor Housing (OEK) building the athletes’ village at the foot of Mount Parnitha northwest of Athens, submitted his resignation to new Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas on Thursday. Reppas wants to put his own man in charge to make the project run faster, a 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) source said. ATHOC would not comment on the sacking officially, but sources said Papavassiliou was blamed for a fight with the contractors this summer that put construction back for weeks just before an IOC visit in September. The 1.2 million square meter village will include 2,292 houses capable of housing 17,300 athletes. Four construction firms have split up the project, whose deadline expires in November 2003. A successor has not been named, but the press speculated on Friday that OEK’s new director will be Thanassis Asimakopoulos, head of the Public City Planning Company. On a year-on-year basis, November revenues rose by 9.9 percent to 1,005 billion drachmas.