Velodrome &
Karaiskaki Stadium
(1895 - 1964 - 2003)
This page is intended as a reminder. It includes historical information about the Piraeus sports venue initially built as a velodrome for the first modern Olympic Games of 1896, later turned into what was the "old" Karaiskaki Stadium.

It was reconstructed in the 1960s, taking the shape it had until 2003, with an athletics track around the pitch. Last recorded capacity: 31,032.
Karaiskaki Stadium is almost synonymous with the two Piraeus clubs of Olympiakos and Ethnikos. The National Team of Greece has played several games there, while it also hosted many Greek Cup finals.

Karaiskaki was the venue of the 1969 European Athletics Championships. Finally, the stadium hosted the two (!) European CupWinners' Cup finals of 1971 between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid CF.
On 19 May 1971 the two teams drew 1-1 in front of 42,000 spectators. The match was replayed two days later, as there was no penalty shoot-out back then. 35,000 football fans saw Chelsea beat Real Madrid by 2-1 and lift the trophy.
The history of Karaiskaki Stadium is unfortunately marked by the worst tragedy ever to hit Greek sports and football in particular. It happened on the 8th of February 1981, right after the end of the derby between Olympiakos CFP and AEK Athens FC.
The match ended in an unprecedented triumph for the Piraeus team: 6 goals to 0. The final whistle saw thousands of fans rushing to the exits, trying to get to the stadium's main entrance and celebrate with the players. The stairs of Gate 7 became a death trap. The doors were almost closed and the turnstiles still in place, making exit almost impossible. People continued to come down from the stands, not being able to see what happened below because of the stair's shape. The fatal accident left tens of fans seriously injured and 21 young people dead, most by suffocation.
Dimitris Adamopoulos (aged 40)
Gerasimos Amitsis (aged 18)
Spyros Andriotis (aged 24)
Kostas Billas (aged 28)
Christos Chadjigeorgiou (aged 34)
Zografoula Chairatidou (aged 23)
Yannis Dialinas (aged 20)
Nikos Filos (aged 19)
Yannis Kanellopoulos (aged 18)
Kostas Karanikolas (aged 26)
Michalis Kostopoulos (aged 21)
Antonis Kouroupakis (aged 34)
Spyros Leonidakis (aged 18)
Efstratios Loupos (aged 20)
Michalis Markou (aged 27)
Vassilis Machas (aged 20)
Ilias Panagoulis (aged 17)
Anastasios Pitsolis (aged 30)
Kostas Sklavounis (aged 16)
Yannis Spiliopoulos (aged 19)
Panagiotis Toumanidis (aged 14)
The most tragic (but also enraging) fact is that no one was ever found guilty for what happened, the court hearing unbelievable stories of how no one was responsible!
Karaiskaki Stadium with its old form is now part of history. One thing is however for sure: the 21 tragic victims of Gate 7 will never be forgotten. 21 seats with their names, which will always be left empty, will be inside the new stadium. This is a promise by Olympiakos and is perhaps the least that can be done in their memory.
The last photograph comes from the book "Piraeus - Centre of Shipping and Culture" published by Ephesus Publishing. Photographer: Giannis Giannelos.
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Karaiskaki Stadium in May 1998 (crowning of Olympiakos as Greek champions)
Karaiskaki Stadium in the 1970s
The "old" Karaiskaki Stadium (1998)
A Gate 7 ticket for the Olympiakos  v AEK match of 8/2/1981
The names of the people that lost their lives in 1981, engraved on marble over the entrance of Gate 7
Karaiskaki in September 2000 (the media tower had already been torn down).