ATHENS – Hopes of fielding an Olympic team for 2016 that will do better than the disastrous performance at the 2012 London games have likely been dashed after the government said it would cut funding in half for the sports federations.
The agencies overseeing athletes will receive state funding of 12 million euros for 2014, the country’s Sports Undersecretary Yiannis Andrianos said, citing the country’ continuing economic crisis as the reason. That is less than 25 percent of the 50 million euros the country will spend hosting the symbolic, powerless six-month rotating European Union Presidency.
Already plagued by a series of doping scandals and complaints from athletes they’ve been left on their own to train as they represent their country, Greek sports is feeling because of harsh austerity measures.
Andrianos informed the Hellenic Olympic Committee at a meeting of the latest cutbacks which are included in the state budget. Last year 24.5 million euros was provided by the state to Greek athletics, also a 50 percent cut from the previous year.
In the last two years, Greek sports has seen a 66 percent reduction in subsidies as even the Olympic team, representing the country where the games began, haven’t been spared.
Last year, after the sports federation SEGAS protested original cuts of 80 percent and warned all sports would be shut down, the government came up with five million euros.
Water polo and swimming have also suffered, with Greece pulling its swimmers out of the European short-course championships at the end of 2011 for the first time in 16 years.