Brothel, funeral home bail out Greek soccer clubs

Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:31pm EDT
 
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By Karolina Tagaris and Gina Kalovyrna

ATHENS (Reuters) - A brothel and a funeral home have become the newest benefactors of two cash-strapped Greek soccer clubs struggling to survive the country's economic crisis.

As Greece endures its worst slump since World War Two, thousands of businesses have closed, one in four is jobless and government funding for anything from health to sports is hard to come by.

So Yiannis Batziolas, chairman of the Voukefalas club that competes in the A1 amateur league, decided to turn to the local brothel owner for help.

"We had a very serious financial problem so I thought, why not?" Batziolas, who has managed the club since 2010, told Reuters from the team's home city of Larissa in central Greece.

Their new sponsor Soula Alevridou, a stocky 67-year-old woman who owns three luxury brothels, agreed to cover all costs and the players now flaunt pink shorts and T-shirts emblazoned with her brothels' logos, including "Villa Erotica".

"The players couldn't believe it at first but now they're happy about it," Batziolas said, estimating the club needs about 10,000 euros a year to survive.

"The first thing they said to me - half-joking, half-serious - was 'What kind of bonuses will we get?'" he added, laughing.

Voukefalas, named after the horse of Alexander the Great, is not the only ailing club to sign a deal with unconventional sponsors.   Continued...

 
A sex worker hides her face as she poses in a hall inside "Soula", a luxury brothel which sponsors the local Voukefalas soccer team, in the city of Larissa about 320 km (200 miles) north of Athens October 20, 2012. A brothel and a funeral home have become the newest benefactors of two cash-strapped Greek soccer clubs struggling to survive the country's economic crisis. Picture taken October 20, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis