ATHENS – The uproar against the Athens Olympic Stadium being closed off because the iconic roof was left to deteriorate since the 2004 games ended, rusting away, saw major opposition SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis blame a former minister.
Kasselakis, who was just elected, said previous Transport and Infrastructure Minister Kostas Karamanlis – who quit this year after failing to implement railway safety measures before a train crash killed 57 – was at fault.
The Leftist leader said that Karamanlis on Sept. 22, 2020 had received a report indicating “serious stability problems” for the arches designed by noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
Kasselakis said in a social media post that while the official report said immediate action was needed: “What did the …. minister do? The same thing as in Tempi: Nothing!” said ANT1 TV, referring to the site of the train crash.
He said that Karamanlis, who wasn’t forced out of New Democracy by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis but kept on the election ticket for Parliament and gained a seat, had been negligent with trains safety and allowed the stadium to keep being used.
“All the Greek teams have played at the stadium. All the Panathinaikos at-home international games were held there. The most populous concerts of the country were given there. For three full years, tens of thousands of people gathered under the unstable roof each time,” he said of the risk.
After the train crash there were reports that Karamanlis allowed the trains to keep running and not report safety issues out of worries that people would stop using them if they knew the danger before 57 people lost their lives.