SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis slams Mitsotakis over OAKA shutdown

Stefanos Kasselakis

Syriza-Progressive Alliance leader Stefanos Kasselakis criticised the government on Saturday for suspending all activities at the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens' (OAKA) Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome due to public safety concerns.

In a video attached to his Facebook post - commented on by Kasselakis, showing an excerpt of a 2021 speech by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis - the Greek premier announces the start of renovation works at OAKA's Velodrome. In his critique, Kasselakis pointed out that OAKA was now closed due to the loss of its structural integrity.

In 2004, the Calatrava Velodrome [designed by architect Santiago Calatrava] "was a symbol of a country that organised the Olympic Games. In 2023, it [has become] a symbol of a country that is collapsing on all levels," Kasselakis underlined, and "a state that abandons everyone - and everything - to their fate."

The "decline ends here," noted the main opposition leader, adding that Syriza "will be here to support a modern Greece."

All activities at the Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome at the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens (OAKA) have been suspended due to safety reasons, as announced by the stadium management on Friday.

Additionally, all activities at the central circulation spine for the complex, which connects the Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome, have been suspended. The iconic arches of the complex were designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and it was opened for use during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The decision to suspend activities was made based on a report that reviewed the metal structures and polycarbonic roofs at the OAKA sports complex, which did not meet the regulatory allowable levels of static adequacy. This report was conducted as part of a renovation agreement signed by the Sports Ministry, OAKA, and the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF).

The officials did not specify the duration of the suspension but mentioned that a second report will be drafted promptly to provide more details and confirm or reject the data provided by the first report.

If the issue is not resolved by the end of October, it is expected to cause problems for Panathinaikos FC in terms of their European games. OAKA serves as their home turf during the Europa League games, with an upcoming game against Rennes (3rd round) on October 26 and Maccabi Haifa on December 14 (6th or final round)."

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