“Madam Soula”, Soula Alevridou from Larissa made it to New York Times. For a not so simple reason: the former prostitute and owner of two luxury brothels in Central Greece sponsored a local soccer team to help it cope with the economic crisis.
With a donation of 1,200 euro, Madame Soula provided the soccer players with bubble-gum pink training outfits carrying logo specially created for Voukefalas FC. “Villa Erotica” on the back, “House of Era” in the front – the names of her two brothels.
A video wishing many goals to Voukefalas and good profits to Madam Soula…
New York Times: In Land of Bailouts, Greek Madam Rescues Local Soccer Team – Alevridou’s support of Voukefalas caused uproar
Her soccer club looked ragged. Strikers jumped up for headers only to miss the ball entirely. Players tumbled over one another, shouting out accusations that they had been fouled.
But in the bleachers, Soula Alevridou, or “Madam Soula,” as she is known in these parts, watched intently, a petite woman in a man’s tie smoking ultra thin cigarettes.
“Keep in mind that the home team is very good,” she said, explaining the difficulties that her team, Voukefalas, was having.
Madam Soula, a former prostitute and now, at the age of 67, the owner of two luxury brothels here in Larissa, stepped in this fall to sponsor Voukefalas, a small amateur soccer team that like many others in Greece was having trouble coming up with the cash for uniforms, equipment and playing field fees.
She considers her support a natural thing to do, maybe even a patriotic gesture, because her debt-mired country is in so much trouble that many of life’s extras, like amateur sports, are becoming out of reach.
“A friend asked and I said, ‘I am here,’ ” she said.
But local officials in this once-rich farming area are hardly thanking her for her efforts. In fact, her gift of about $1,300 so far, in part to buy bubble-gum pink training outfits — has caused something of an uproar as officials debate the appropriateness of having a brothel owner step in, even if it is to make up for a bankrupt state and an economy that leaves few businesses with the cash to help young men play sports.
Last month, she tried to help an elementary school in the western port city of Patras, but was publicly rebuffed. The school had sent out an S O S asking for contributions for textbooks and a copy machine. She said that she quickly sent about $3,600, but that the school returned her check. At the mention of the copier, tears well up in Madam Soula’s eyes and she looks weary. “They should think about the children,” she said. “How would they know that it was me who sent it? I will be dead by the time they know.” (Full Story New York Times)
In times of economic crisis and austerity sponsors are rare. Paliopyrgos FC in Trikala had found another controversial support. From a local business offering funeral services.