SPORTS

Eviction shock for Greek sporting federations

A number of national sporting federations were caught off guard yesterday after being given 10 days’ notice by the Peace and Friendship Stadium’s administration (SEF) to find somewhere other than the complex for their athletes to train, ahead of its refurbishment for the Athens 2004 Olympics. With surrogate facilities in Aghios Cosmas, southern Athens, expected to be ready early this summer, it remains unclear where the athletes are to continue training until then. A five-day extension would be granted to federations if needed, the stadium’s officials noted. The decision, which affects four national teams – table tennis, fencing, boxing and weightlifting – has not been fully enforced. Olympiakos’s basketball team, an ex-European champion now through to the Euroleague’s second round, has been exempted and will be playing its home games for the European club-level competition at the otherwise off-limits stadium. (Olympiakos, which has been playing this season’s home games at another stadium, in Glyfada, was granted special permission to host its Euroleague games at the far larger Peace and Friendship Stadium after its newly appointed coach, Slobodan Subotic, made his preference clear. The famously superstitious Subotic feared the stadium in Glyfada would prove a bad omen as a locale for his team’s European clashes.) Though the ousted federations were aware of the impeding relocation, they had anticipated the move would be made once the surrogate facilities were ready for use. «For us, this is a matter of survival because the stadium is not used just for training by national teams. Our games are played there. I would like to believe that logic will prevail and that the move can be made in a smoother fashion,» said the fencing federation’s president, Manolis Katsiadakis. The table tennis team is also wondering where it could go. «They’ve promised us a home in Argyroupolis,» said its general secretary, Manolis Kolymbadis. «But the project there won’t even be ready in September.»