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Karaiskakis Stadium

Karaiskakis Stadium
Stadium information
Full nameGeorgios Karaiskakis Stadium
Former namesNeo Phaliron Velodrome (1895 1964)
LocationPiraeus, Greece
Built1895
Opened1896
Renovated1964, 2004 (complete reconstruction)
OwnerHellenic Olympic Committee
OperatorOlympiacos
SurfaceGrass
ScoreboardYes
Construction cost- 60,000,000
ArchitectStelios Aghiostratitis
Capacity33334
TenantsOlympiacos (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

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Karaiskakis Stadium ( ; IPA jíːpɛðɒ kαːraɪskːάːkiː) is in the Neo Faliro area of Piraeus, Greece. It is the home ground of 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.

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 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 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, Olympiacos President Socratis Kokkalis, when announcing the project to rebuild Karaiskakis, expressed his wish for the new stadium to be also used by Ethnikos F.C., if they wanted, as Karaiskaki 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 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 bhosted 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.

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 (than 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.


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