Karaiskakis Stadium

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Γήπεδο Γεώργιος Καραϊσκάκης
Karaiskakis Stadium Piraeus before Olympiacos-Arsenal FC
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Full name Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium
Former names Neo Phaliron Velodrome (1895–1964)
Location Piraeus, Athens, Greece
Coordinates 37°56′46.21″N 23°39′52.33″E / 37.9461694°N 23.6645361°E / 37.9461694; 23.6645361
Built 1895
Opened 1896
Renovated 1964, 2004 (complete reconstruction)
Owner Hellenic Olympic Committee
Operator Olympiacos
Surface Grass
Scoreboard LED
Construction cost 60,000,000
Architect Stelios Aghiostratitis
Capacity 33,334[2]
Field size 105 x 68 m
Tenants
Olympiacos (1925–1984),(1989–1997),(2004–present)
Ethnikos Piraeus (1924–2000)
Greek national football team (2004–2008),(2010–present)
Greece women's national football team (2008-present)
Greece Rugby League

Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium (Greek: Γήπεδο Γεώργιος Καραϊσκάκης [ˈʝipeðo karaiˈskacis]) is a football stadium in the Neo Faliro area of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece. It is the home ground of the Greek club Olympiacos F.C. and is named after Georgios Karaiskakis (Γεώργιος Καραϊσκάκης), hero of the Greek War of Independence, who was mortally wounded near the area.

History[edit]

It was used during the 1896 Summer Olympics as the Neo Phaliron Velodrome, where Frenchman Paul Masson took the three track cycling gold medals.

It was renovated during the 1960s[3] and was completely rebuilt in 2004 into a 32,115 capacity, all seater stadium, ready for the football competition of the 2004 Summer Olympics.[4][5]

The stadium was totally demolished and built again from the beginning, facing a different direction. This complete reconstruction took a record time of only 14 months, finishing just in time for the Olympic Games. After the last deal ended in 1998, Olympiacos is using the stadium once again, on a 49-year lease from 2003 until 2052 and is traditionally identified as the club's true home. In 2002, the president and owner of Olympiacos Socratis Kokkalis, when announced the project to rebuild Karaiskakis, expressed his wish for the new stadium to be also used by Ethnikos F.C., if they wanted, as Karaiskakis is the historic home of both Olympiacos and Ethnikos. Therefore, in the contract signed by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the owner of the stadium, and Olympiacos, a clause was included, stating that should Ethnikos wish to return to the stadium, they may do so without sharing any significant maintenance or other stadium-related costs, as those are covered by Olympiacos. As of the 2010/11 season though, Ethnikos has not yet opted to do so.

The ticket sales average higher than any team's in recent decades for the Super League Greece history (rarely have they dropped under the 5,000 mark) and are not expected to drop in the foreseeable future.

Sales for national team matches had also been higher, but this was for the most part due to Greece's success in the Euro 2004. As of 2008 and after Greece's disappointing Euro 2008 performance, the attendance of national team matches dropped drastically, leading the Ministry of Sport to change the venue to Heraklion, Crete.

In June 2005, Karaiskakis stadium hosted a movie theatre (Ciné Karaiskakis) with a cinema screen that is 20 m long and 10 m wide, operating daily between 9 and 11 p.m. (6 and 8 p.m. UTC) and later, every weekend. The movie screen featured movies including Batman Begins and others. The stadium operated as a movie theatre for the last time on Saturday August 13, 2005.

The Gate 7 Tragedy[edit]

Twenty-one supporters of Olympiacos lost their lives in "Gate 7" (Θύρα 7) of the stadium, after a game between Olympiacos and AEK Athens FC (that ended 6–0), on February 8, 1981; an incident widely known as the Karaiskaki Stadium disaster. In memory of this event, at the tribune where Gate 7 is now, twenty-one seats are black colored instead of red, shaping the number "7". A monument on the eastern side of the stadium bears the names of the twenty-one supporters killed on that day in the stadium.[6]

Stadium features[edit]

View from outside

Karaiskakis Stadium is classified among 28 other ones around Europe as a 5-star football stadium by the UEFA organisation, allowing it to host the UEFA Europa League Final if chosen. It hosts 40 VIP lounges and suites, that can hold up to 472 persons, a press conference hall, that can hold up to 130 seats, 200 seats for press and media coverage, an entire shopping mall, with restaurants, cafés, retail and clothing stores, a gym and a Museum dedicated to the history of Olympiacos CFP. There are 10 automated ticket selling machines around the stadium enabling reservations through the internet or by phone. There is no extra charge for the parking area, which takes up to 2,500 cars. Due to its design, the stadium's tribunes have the ability to empty within 7 minutes. The stadium also has restaurants and stores opened during concerts and games and sometimes open with the daily general timetable of most Greek stores and shops.

The stadium is easily accessed through the Athens Mass Transit System, at the station "Faliro", which is about 15 minutes from Athens city centre, at the "Omonia" square station and also through Athens driving routes, which is 8 km, about 15 minutes from downtown Athens.

Concerts[edit]

Rihanna, Aerosmith, Evanescence, 50 Cent, Scorpions, Whitesnake, Imiskoumbria, Def Leppard and Sex Pistols have performed at the stadium.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of UEFA 4 Star Stadiums". Worldstadiumdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  2. ^ "LOSC Lille Métropole". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  3. ^ "Velodrome and Karaiskaki Stadium (1895 – 1964 – 2003)". stadia.gr. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  4. ^ "Karaiskakis Stadium". stadiumguide.com. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  5. ^ 2004 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. p. 324.
  6. ^ "Karaiskaki Stadium History". olympiacos.org. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Prater Stadium
Vienna
UEFA Cup Winners Cup
Final Venue

1971
Succeeded by
Camp Nou
Barcelona

Coordinates: 37°56′47.21″N 23°39′51.54″E / 37.9464472°N 23.6643167°E / 37.9464472; 23.6643167