Difficult days lie ahead for Greek sports due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country, newly re-elected president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos said in a radio interview on Tuesday.
“The next four years things will be very difficult for Greek society and equally or even more difficult for sports here,» Capralos said on Athens radio station NovaSports 94.6 FM.
He said the deep cuts in government grants for sports federations may lead to their presidents in danger of facing jail terms for mounting debts.
“Last year for the badminton federation which I represent we had a government grant of 180,000 euros. This year we will be getting only 30,000 euros.
“How can we send athletes to competition abroad with such a small budget? Many small federations are on the brink of shutting down,» Capralos said. He added they needed to rethink strategy on attracting money into their sports but with the help of the government.
“What is needed is immediate mobilization of all in sports,» said Capralos, who met on Wednesday with Sports Minister Yiannis Ioannidis to help find solutions.
“We must see how to bring sponsors into sports and to find resources such as in Romania, where for example, they have a tax on cigarettes and drinks which helps fund the amateur sports and the Olympic committee there.”
Capralos was unanimously re-elected president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee on Monday for a second consecutive four-year period (2013-2016).