December 10th, 2002

First there was the Government (on 15 November) and then the Greek Olympic Committee (on 3 December) who approved the plans by Olympiakos FC for the reconstruction of KARAISKAKI STADIUM. Yesterday was the turn of FIFA to give the "green light" for the Piraeus venue to host matches of the 2004 Olympic football tournament, including the final. A delegation lead by FIFA vice-president Mr. Issa Hayatou visited both Karaiskaki and Rizoupoli stadia, the latter proposed some months ago as an alternative solution by the Athens Organising Committee for the 2004 Olympic Games.

"As you may well know, we have been a little bit worried with regard to the Olympic football tournament. This morning we visited two stadia to try and determine what course we should choose", Mr. Hayatou said. Referring to Rizoupoli, the FIFA vice-president pointed out: "We decided that this stadium does not meet the standards set, because the Olympic Games attract great teams and huge crowds to watch them. The capacity of this stadium is too small and access to it also poses problems". Finally, focusing on Karaiskaki, Mr. Hayatou stated: "We saw a detailed presentation of plans and I may say that we have no worries any more. The Greek Government has given us guarantees with regard to negotiations to follow [note: between Olympiakos FC and the State] until the 10th of January for the stadium to then be demolished and reconstructed". In his final words, Mr. Hayatou stressed the importance of adhering to the timetable. Works simply MUST start in January for the stadium to be ready by May 2004.

Relevant articles:
Government intervention puts Karaiskaki case back on track (16/11/02)
Olympiakos say they give up trying for Karaiskaki (13/11/02)
Cabinet meeting over new stadia of the Athens "big 3" (22/9/02)
Olympiakos return home in football and basketball (24/2/02)
Karaiskaki Stadium will host the football final in the 2004 Olympics (23/01/02)
Olympiakos look set to return once again to Karaiskaki (2/10/01)
Olympiakos abandon Karaiskaki and will build new stadium (31/8/01)