Greece Cuts Sports Budget 50%

ATHENS – Coming off one of its poorest performances ever at the 2012 London Olympics, Greece may not be able to fully support its team or amateur sports after the government cut the budget of the Greek Amateur Athletics Federation (SEGAS), officials at the agency said.

The General Secretariat of Sports, blaming the country’s economic crisis, is making drastic cuts in subsidies to sports federations.

“The announcement of the grants to sports federations by the General Secretariat of Sports unfortunately demonstrates that amateur sports has been deleted from the priorities of the state,” the announcement by SEGAS said.

SEGAS said the grant cuts by the government “will not even cover the minimum operational costs of the federations.”

The sports secretariat said that that only 11.2 million euros ($15.5 million) will be given to the federations this year, a 50 percent decrease from the previous year when athletes complained they couldn’t afford to compete for their country and were in facilities with cold water showers and inferior conditions.

Some federations will not receive any financial aid from the state while SEGAS is scheduled to get 2.3 million euros ($3.18 million), a 67 percent drop from 2013.

“SEGAS calls on the state to realize that supporting sports helps invest in youth, society, better health and better quality of life. Amateur sports needs additional funding. We intend to challenge this financing in cooperation with other sports federations and the Hellenic Olympic Committee,” the SEGAS announcement said.