The economic woes in Greece have had a devastating effect on the nation’s Olympic hopes, after its cash-strapped athletics federation Segas suspended activities as a protest against continuous cutbacks in state funding.
At a general assembly meeting, the Segas board said it would cease all operations until ‘further notice’ while calling on the State to release funding for the country’s athletes who are preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Reports from Reuters revealed the Greek government halted funding to Segas as part of its austerity measures. However, Segas said in a statement, ‘The federation, under the authority of the general assembly, has decided to suspend all sporting activity until the decisions of the unfair and selective cuts in funding for the organisation in 2011 and 2012 are reviewed by the government’.
The decision means no regional or national competitions will be held and expenses for athletes and coaches are frozen.
According to the Reuters report, Olympic hopefuls have been forced to rely on handouts from the International Olympic Committee’s solidarity programme.
The Greek government also announced in January that the sports budget would be cut by 33 per cent, while its decision to withdraw 190 million euros of funding for accommodation projects for the Mediterranean Games ended in humiliation, as the games were taken away from Greece and awarded to Turkey.