NEWS

Backlog in accreditation procedure

Complaints over the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee’s accreditation process grew yesterday, as problems began to accumulate. In some cases, even personnel involved in security had not yet received permits allowing them to enter Olympic facilities and there were also cases of trucks carrying necessary equipment being unable to approach the venues. A large number of support personnel (such as cleaners, technicians, and others) who contribute to the successful functioning of the facilities have only temporary accreditation. The Athens 2004 accreditation department is being criticized for appearing unprepared – at least in this phase – to deal with the large number of people who have to be given permits to enter sports venues and other facilities. The situation, however, is expected to ease in the next few days, according to officials at Athens 2004 headquarters. The organizing committee’s head, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, told Kathimerini last Sunday that more than 3,000 accreditations were being handled daily. The problem, however, appears to be related not to the department’s technical capabilities but to the spotty cooperation between the accreditation department and the dozens of public agencies or private individuals and companies who are involved in the organization of the Games. Many of these agencies delayed informing Athens 2004 of the names of people they would accredit, leading to a backlog in the system. For example, even the Development Ministry officials who are to watch over prices at Olympic facilities need to be accredited. Thousands of people working as cleaners at the stadiums, the press villages and other, non-athletic facilities also need to be accredited. Foreign delegations are also said to have met with problems in accreditation, resulting in at least one ambassador getting in touch with the government in an effort to find a solution to the problem.