Basketball clubs reject state offer of aid, want more

Not only did the majority of Greece’s top-flight basketball clubs not appreciate the government’s offer of state aid, contrary to correct practice, but they rejected it as inadequate yesterday, saying they will bargain for more. Ten of division A1’s 14 clubs that had not been offered contracts by pay TV channel NetMed to televise their matches, had gone cap in hand to state TV ERT asking for a generous package in order to cover their operational costs. ERT Chairman Angelos Stangos had replied that state television was not a charity and had offered 500 million drachmas (about 1.5 million euros). On Wednesday, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, notorious for his generosity in keeping afloat bankrupt soccer and basketball clubs, especially from his Thessaloniki constituency, offered 5 million euros. He had twisted Stangos’s arm into offering 2.05 million and added proceeds from a new basketball pools game and 700,000 euros originally earmarked for the 2004 Olympics. The 10 teams have opted for renewed negotiations with the government and NetMed, hoping that political expediency will win the day. «It’s about the struggle to hold on to the American Dream,» said Stefatos. Set in the Queens neighborhood known as Little Athens, in Astoria, the film follows the journey of 28-year-old Alex and his desire to flee his neighborhood in order to pursue an ambitious dream: to reach the lost tomb of Alexander the Great. Reality quickly sets in, however, as the family business needs his attention and his father faces soaring gambling debts.

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