Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) wants money back from athletes leaving the Olympic Village earlier than scheduled, that is if they failed to qualify in the sports they’re competing. Athletes will have to pay back €150 out of €300 – flat rate “pocket money’ -the Committee had handed out in advance depending on the days they would stay in London. In the pretext of proper management of public money.
Press spokesman of GOC Tasos Papachristou said the Committee had given athletes in advance money to cover expenses based on a daily compensation calculation depending on the days every athlete was scheduled to stay.
If athletes did not manage to qualify and want to return to Greece earlier, half of the money should be returned.
“It is the duty of HOC to ask the money back” said a HOC statement.
Should all Greek athletes leave earlier and each one returns 150 euro to HOC, Greece would be richer at the amazing amount of 15,450 euro!
Greece is competing at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London with a total of 103 athletes , 65 men and 38 women, in 19 sports. While all their expenses are paid (food, transport, accommodation), they receive a ‘pocket money’ of 300 euro, some 20 euro per day, to cover personal expenses.
Cutting here, Spending there
It is interesting though to read an article by Independent, according to which Olympic officials rented the entire Carlton Club in St Jame’s/London for £150,000 (190,906 euro) to become the House of Hellenes during the Olympic Games in order to promote “Greece’s culture, history, political and economic developments.”
“There is £75,000 being contributed by private firms, but most of the balance is topped up with Greek lottery cash, organisers said. Sponsors, politicians and officials will mingle with athletes at the club where signature dishes include Dover sole and chateaubriand.” (London 2012: Greek Olympic officials spend thousands on exclusive club despite country’s dire economy)
Greek Gymnast/Olympic Team “We don’t have the money to pay for medicines, doctors or physiotherapists.”
Yes, that was back in 2004 in Athens, when the spending for building Olympic Games facilities reached some 8-13 billion euro. Nowadays with the country amid the deepest economic crisis of its modern history, can you imagine how things are?
“There is no longer the money to fix the air-conditioning inside the main track-and-field training facility in Athens. So Greece’s Olympic stars are left to swelter.
The crash mats are torn – the stuffing bursting out – and the cushions on the equipment are fraying. The facilities have crumbled – all in the space of eight years.
State funding for the individual sports federations has been slashed and athletes lack the very basics.” (BBC)
Of course, if an athlete wins a medal, the win is “for all Greeks”, but if he/she loses, a “fine” of 150 euro is due.
UPDATE: After strong reactions by the Greek public opinion the HOC issued a statement on Friday afternoon annulling the decision and calling on athletes who had left the Olympic Village and handed out 150 euro to HOC to reclaim the money…
PS And if Greek athletes are still in London, they can surely make a “lavish” life with 20 euro per day….
BTW: now Greek Internet sites claim of prims and bonuses the Greek state still owes to Greek athletes for previous successes…