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Olympic Stadium of Athens Shuts Down for Safety Reasons

Olympic stadium of Athens (OAKA)
The Olympic stadium of Athens (OAKA). Credit: Flickr / Tilemahos Efthimiadis cc by 2.0

The management of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) announced on Friday that all activities at the Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome will be suspended for safety reasons.

All activities at the central circulation spine for the complex that connects the Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome have also been suspended. This is because its famous roof with its iconic arches, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, have failed safety tests.

Cause of Olympic Stadium shut down

A renovation agreement had been signed between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, OAKA, and the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund. The agreement included a report on the complex’s problematic aspects which do not meet prescribed standards, including the metal structures and polycarbonic roofs. Based on that, OAKA’s management proceeded with the decision to close the stadium.

Olympic Stadium shuts down – now what?

OAKA’s management has not issued any details about how long the suspension will last. They have said that a second, more detailed report would be drafted as quickly as possible in order to confirm or reject the original report’s data.

The problem is that Panathinaikos FC is expected to participate in several football games as part of the Europa League competition. Therefore, the Athenian football club is going to need to return to its home stadium by the end of October.

Panathinaikos FC has a game coming up on October 26th against Rennes (3rd round) and another one against Maccabi Haifa on December 14th (6th or final round). Needless to say, the big league derby against Olympiacos that was scheduled for Wednesday, October 4th cannot take place at the Olympic Stadium.

The history of the Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Stadium of Athens is the largest stadium in Greece. It was first designed in 1980 and completed in 1982. It hosted the European Athletics Championships that year, as well as the 1983 European Cup Final between Hamburger SV and Juventus (1-0).

Furthermore, the Olympic Stadium hosted the 1986-87 European Cup Winners’ final between Ajax and Lokomotiv Leipzig (1-0) in 1987 and the 1994 UEFA Champions League Final between AC Milan and Barcelona (4-0) in 1994.

It was extensively renovated for the 2004 Olympics and 2004 Summer Paralympics prior to reopening on July 30, 2004.

The stadium hosted the athletics events and football finals during the Olympics; the athletics at the Paralympics; the opening and closing ceremonies on August 13, 2004 and August 29, 2004, respectively; and the Paralympics ceremonies on September 17th and 28th.

Numerous competitions from the 1991 Mediterranean Games and 1997 World Championships in Athletics were likewise held at the Olympic Stadium. In 2007, the stadium hosted the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final between AC Milan and Liverpool (2-1).

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