ATHENS, Greece -- The Greek Olympic baseball team is so
short of cash that it has no funds to return for the games after
training in the United States, a top official said Friday.
"At this moment we do not have money to pay for the tickets for
our team to come to participate in the Olympic Games," Panos
Mitsiopoulos, president of the Greek Baseball Federation, told The
All but one player have been training in Baltimore. Peter
Angelos, the Greek-American owner of the Baltimore Orioles, helped
organize the Greek Olympic team.
Mitsiopoulos' comments came a day after the team's coach
threatened to quit in protest over a roster that includes just two
local Greek players on the 24-man team. The rest of the spots went
to players of Greek heritage -- as remote as great-grandparents --
from the United States and Canada.
Greece, a nation of 11 million people, is relying heavily on
athletes of Greek descent for baseball and other sports that are
largely unfamiliar in this country.
Mitsiopoulos claims the federation only received about a third
of the promised $372,000 for Olympics preparations. He added that
other Greek sports federations are also short on funds.
"This is happening with all the teams. All the federations are
complaining," Mitsiopoulos said.
There was no immediate comment from Greek officials.