If Buddy Guy were to pen a song about Greece's sporting endeavours now, it would be, er, "Too Broke to Participate in European Volleyball." When you are made to justify every line item of expenditure, does sending athletes to complete abroad only within Europe become a frivolous expense?
Cash-strapped Greece will not compete in volleyball's annual European League this year due to the "prohibitive costs" of taking part. Greece's men's and women's volleyball teams have competed in the tournament since its inception in 2004 but due to financial difficulties as the economic crisis continues to hit Greek sport hard, the [Greek volleyball authority] EOPE have opted to skip this year's edition.I suppose it's losing the little things that you once took for granted that hurt the most when you are in dire financial straits. For a nation that's been showered an astronomical EUR 240 billion in bailout money, they cannot even find EUR 300,000 to send their players to compete elsewhere in the continent.
"EOPE's new management committee met today and decided to confirm the initial plan of the previous committee put together in early December by opting not to take our national teams to the European League tournament," an EOPE spokesman told Reuters. "The costs of participating are prohibitive to say the least for us due to the current financial climate.."
According to media reports, taking part would have cost about 300,000 euros, including travel expenses. The European League, which is organised by the European Volleyball Confederation and will take place in July, was set up to improve the competitiveness of national teams and promote the sport around the continent.It may be trivial in the larger scheme of things, but it certainly must hurt. Call it social exclusion among EU nations. On the bright side, there's always Eurovision.