November 16th, 2002

Surprise, surprise! The story of the KARAISKAKI STADIUM reconstruction took yet another twist for the zillionth time!

There was first an urgent meeting yesterday morning between members of the government and the Greek Olympic Committee (GOC), who own the stadium. Following this, there was another meeting later in the day, this time between Evangelos Venizelos  (Minister of Culture) and Socrates Kokkalis (President of Olympiakos FC). The statements made afterwards are very interesting.

Kokkalis: "This time things look really optimistic. Mr. Venizelos proposed a plan and we, as Olympiakos, presented our own. I believe we are very close. We will meet once again to see if we come to an agreement. Karaiskaki is the historic home of Olympiakos and is what we want for the future of this club. We will finance all the works, but the matter of the athletics track is something that's not negotiable. We want a purely football stadium - the track will have to go. If we agree to what we proposed and works start immediately, Karaiskaki will be ready by 2004. Don't forget we transformed
Rizoupoli Stadium in just 2 months."

Venizelos: "We now have a framework with two basic elements: Karaiskaki must be the permanent home of Olympiakos and they will have to invest all the necessary money for the works. We still have a couple of issues to agree on. First, the duration of the period Olympiakos will be granted full use of the stadium. Second, the technical part of the project, as it has to be ready for the Olympic Games. On the matter of the athletics tack, we have agreed with the GOC that a team of experts will conduct an appraisal of all available spaces in Athens and the State will construct a new stadium there to replace Karaiskaki, as this will become a football-only ground."

Government officials have stressed that works at Karaiskaki must start immediately, if the stadium is to be used in the 2004 Olympic football tournament. Finally, we have to point out that the solution of Rizoupoli Stadium (which was proposed last month by the Athens Organizing Committee for the 2004 Games) does not satisfy FIFA and the IOC. This stadium is very small and not suitable for such an important event, while road access to it is entirely inadequate.

Relevant articles:
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)