Monday, November 20, 2017

Citing spending cuts, Greece suspends track, field operations

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ATHENS, Greece — Greece's track and field authority suspended all athletic operations Wednesday due to severe spending cuts — a major embarrassment for the nation that hosted the Summer Olympics only eight years ago.

The move — the latest twist in Greece's nearly three-year financial free fall — is the first such action by any of the country's major sports bodies. It immediately halts all domestic track and field competitions, including track meets May 12-13 in several Greek cities.

The decision will not, however, affect the May 10 flame-lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia, in southern Greece, for the 2012 London Olympics, or have any immediate effect on the selection of Greek athletes for those games.

"The Board of Athletics Federation . . . unanimously decided to suspend all domestic sporting activity until decisions to make unfair and selective cuts in funding are reviewed," a federation statement said.

Federation President Vassilis Sevastis said deep cuts in state funding have left coaches and suppliers unpaid for up to 10 months. He said the federation was unable to cover its basic needs.

The agency is expected to meet again in two weeks and could toughen its stance even further to include international meets like the European Championships if the Greek government fails to respond.

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