PAO stadium stalled

The snag hit by the construction of the new Panathinaikos ground seems to have far-reaching consequences and the problem may not be resolved for some time. The Council of State last week ordered the temporary halt of works for the revamp in the Votanikos area of Athens that will also see the construction of the club’s new sports complex. After an injunction application for environmental reasons by 131 Athenians against the construction of a new shopping center at Votanikos, the court has called for all work to stop at the site until the case can be properly heard, probably by Christmas. The new mall that is being built as well on the site is an integral part of the «twin facelift» project for Votanikos and Ambelokipi, a major project by the City of Athens. The operation of the mall was meant to fund the completion of the stadium project. It is understood that without the shopping center, the entire project will have to be put on hold. Aris Vovos, the owner of the Maroussi basketball club and the company that will build and operate the mall, has staked a lot on the construction of the shopping mall. On Monday, he issued a statement as a means of pressure, suggesting that yesterday’s Eurocup game played by Maroussi against Riga could be its last competition. Vovos employees yesterday staged a rally during the game at the Olympic Sports Hall in Athens, as the game was covered live by state television just hours after a rally in central Athens at noon. They are protesting that the decision has left them without work in the runup to Christmas. There are about 1,000 people employed at the construction site in one way or another.

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