Greek authorities have launched an investigation, but have sought to play down concerns, after European football’s governing body UEFA requested a probe into footage of Athens’ Olympic Stadium apparently swaying during a recent Champions League game.
A video which was posted on social media last week appears to show the upper tier of the stadium moving around during home team AEK Athens’ match against Bayern Munich on October 23. UEFA confirmed to the Euronews website that it had issued a letter to the venue’s management and Greek sports authorities after a delegate viewed the video.
The stadium’s management told Euronews that the structure’s oscillating movement was normal and there was no reason to be concerned, but confirmed they would inspect it as a precaution. Greece’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, Giorgos Vasiliadis, yesterday (Thursday) confirmed that the government has launched its own probe into the matter.
“We do not think there is cause for concern, but that will not prevent us from taking every initiative to fully protect the spectators,” Vasiliadis said, according to the AFP news agency. “I recommend calmness as all the necessary moves will be made. We will wait for the technical findings and will determine what to do next. There is no particular cause for concern at this stage.”
The Olympic Stadium first opened in 1982 and underwent a major renovation to serve as the centrepiece of Athens’ staging of the 2004 summer Olympic Games. The stadium currently accommodates around 70,000 fans for football matches and Vasiliadis maintained it still has “the best technical specifications”.
He added: “Every seven years it passes through a special committee examination. The phenomenon of oscillation is frequent in the stadium as with any stadium with upper decks. But we will do what it takes to be 100 per cent sure that the facility is absolutely safe.”
Image: Mister No