OPINION

Post-Olympic venues

Most Olympic venues are to be handed over for «private use» (rented or sold to private businessmen), according to a debate Thursday, which was led by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and attended by Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia. But the meeting focused on intentions rather than decisions (which are probably going to be harder to reach than expected). Indeed, if these venues had been constructed according to the original deadlines and budget in a way that facilitates post-Olympic use, the government would now face less of a problem in making plans for their cost-efficient maintenance. The Athens 2004 Organizing Committee itself (and in some cases even the International Olympic Committee) had expressed reservations about the construction of certain Olympic venues as «heavy» structures rather than the «lighter» – and cheaper – prefabricated alternative. But there is no point in postmortems. The main concern now is to find the best use for the venues so that their maintenance does not burden state coffers and they do not fall apart from lack thereof. However, the handover of venues for «private use» is still theoretical as the purchase or renting of a venue is riddled by legal obstacles.