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Karaiskakis Stadium
Karaiskakis Stadium Piraeus Olympiacos-Arsenal.jpg UEFA Nuvola apps mozilla.pngNuvola apps mozilla.pngNuvola apps mozilla.pngNuvola apps mozilla.png
Full name Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium
Former names Neo Phaliron Velodrome (1895-1964)
Location Poseidonos Avenue,
Faliro, Piraeus,
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 Greek State
Operator Olympiacos
Surface Grass
Construction cost 60,000,000
Architect Stelios Aghiostratitis
Capacity 33,334
Tenants
Olympiacos (1925-1984),(1989-1997),(2004-present)
Ethnikos Piraeus (1924-2000)
Greek national football team (2004-2008)

The Karaiskakis Stadium (Greek: Γήπεδο Γεώργιος Καραϊσκάκης, IPA: [ˈʝipe̞ˌðo̞ ʝe̞ˈo̞ɾʝiˌo̞s kaˌɾaisˈkakʲis]) is in the Neo Faliro area of Piraeus, Greece. It is the home ground of Olympiacos F.C. and is named after Georgios Karaiskakis, hero of the Greek War of Independence, who was mortally wounded in this area.

It was used during the 1896 Summer Olympics as a velodrome where Frenchman Paul Masson took the three track cycling gold medals.

It was renovated during the 1960s and was completely rebuilt in 2004 into a 33,334 capacity all seater stadium ready for the football competition of the 2004 Summer Olympics.

The last renovation took a record time of only 14 months, finishing just in time for the Olympic Games. At this "renovation" the stadium was totally demolished and built again from the beginning, facing a different direction.

View of Gate 7 in the new Karaiskaki Stadium. The photo was taken before the Olympiacos vs. Panathinaikos match's kick-off on January 15, 2006, considered one of the biggest derby matches in Greece.

After the last deal ended in 1998, Olympiacos is using the stadium once again, on loan from 2003 and until 2052 and is traditionally labelled as the club's true home. In 2002, Olympiacos President Socratis Kokkalis, when announcing the project to rebuild Karaiskakis, said, "It is our wish that [the new stadium] will also be used by Ethnikos F.C., as Karaiskaki is the historic home of both [Olympiacos and Ethnikos]". 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 costs, as those are covered by Olympiacos. As of the 2009/10 season though, Ethnikos has opted not 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 25,000 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, Karaiskaki became a movie theatre (Cine 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.

21 supporters of Olympiacos lost their lives in "Gate 7" (Θύρα 7) of the stadium, after a game between Olympiacos and AEK Athens FC (6-0), on February 8, 1981; an incident widely known as the Karaiskaki Stadium disaster. In memory of this event, at the tribune part where now is the Gate 7, some seats are black colored instead of red, shaping the number "7", whereas there is also a monument on the eastern side of the stadium, bearing the names of all 21 supporters killed on that day in the stadium.

Stadium features

Olympiacos Chelsea Champions League 2008

Karaiskákis Stadium is classified among 13 other ones around Europe as a 4-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 mechanical stations around the stadium that print out tickets for those who have made bookings through the internet or by phone. Furthermore, there is a big parking area that can hold up to 2,500 cars without extra charge. Thanks to its modern layout, the tribunes have the ability to empty within just 7 minutes.

The stadium is easily accessed through the Metro railway, at the station "Faliro", which is 20 minutes away from the city centre, and through the Mass Transit System, at the station "S.E.F.", which is around 40 minutes from the centre of Athens.

External links

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

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