How Broke is Greece? It Drops Volleyball Tourneys

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 1/14/2013 07:21:00 AM
Blues legend Buddy Guy has a song entitled "Too Broke to Spend the Night" from his comeback album Damn Right I've Got the Blues. I think Greek officialdom may be singing a similar tune right about now in sporting terms. In 2004 it famously hosted--rather unprofitably, too--the world's foremost gathering of international sporting competition, the Summer Olympics in Athens. That was in its heyday of spending like tomorrow and hiding massive budget deficits to cheat its way into the Eurozone. Heady times they were including their improbable 2004 UEFA Euro championship victory, but they were built on unsustainable finances.

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.

"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.."
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.
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.