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Liolios: “Celebrate the Final 8 in Heraklion, with the teams themselves as custodians”


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The opportunity to live a celebration of sportsfor all those who love sports and especially for the teams, everyone who watches this year’s Final 8 of the Greek Cup in Heraklion, as emphasized by the president of the EEC, Vangelis Liolios.

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Vangelis Liolios (EEC president): “We thank the minister and the president of ESAKE, as well as the main sponsor, OPAP, for their presence. We were watching the Final 8, we were jealous of it but we haven’t done it in so many years. I am very happy not only for the good cooperation we have with the ministry, but also for the support in all sports. It is the first time in the last two years that sports associations feel that the state cares about them. On behalf of all the unions, thank you. The financial aid is much more than last year. Last year we did a Final 4 with the central slogan ‘It’s a celebration’. This year is a Final 8, it is a celebration for all those who love sports and especially for the teams.

Teams, coaches and players shape the future of all healthy fans. In Crete there will be actions on and off the field. Sports are not only the games, but all the parallel actions that will be done continuously and will be enriched. All these actions are done with the support and help of our central sponsor, OPAP. I want to thank the Region of Crete and the Municipality of Heraklion, but also the teams themselves. If the groups themselves were not helpers in this effort, nothing could be done. The relationship the federation has with all the teams is excellent. Only in this way can we move forward and go to the next day. Custodians for the Final 8 are the teams themselves, what we do is to support, to coordinate and with the help of the ministry and the institutional authorities to show the way for the next day”.

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Nikos Nikolopoulos (EEC Secretary General): “It is the 48th edition of the Cup and we have reached this point so that Greece can follow the example of other advanced countries. When the president announced something like this last year, many doubted it, but we dared because we believe we have the maturity to do it. We hope beyond beautiful games to transmit a beautiful message to the whole world. We thank the Region of Crete and the Municipality of Heraklion and I want to wish the participating teams good health.”

Vangelis Galatsopoulos (chairman of ESAKE): “The protagonists are the players and the coaches. We, the federation and the league, have a duty to look after the good of basketball and the teams. We thank the EEC for the invitation, it is very pleasing that the Super Cup and the Final 8 are now being organized, as in the other European countries. The meaning of sports is to provide joy and excitement. All the bodies and the teams must do everything possible for the sports fans to watch a celebration. This year is the first step, I hope the sequel will be better. As ESAKE, we cooperate with the EEC to upgrade the sport at all levels. If our goal is individual gain, we will remain stagnant. The benefit is mutual from the new format of holding the Cup. I wish all the teams good success and I am sure that the spectacle will satisfy the most demanding basketball fans. Revenue from taxing betting is a big help. Basketball has offered and every year we will ask for something more.”

Lefteris Avgenakis (Deputy Minister of Sports): “Heraklion welcomes the celebration of basketball, the Final 8, a celebration that should have happened years ago. Sponsors understand the power of sport and are stepping up. We will host you in Heraklion, Crete is known for its hospitality. We will experience top moments of a sport that is constantly increasing its popularity. There is a harmonious cooperation with EEC and ESAKE, but also that after much effort we managed to create a permanent piggy bank for funding amateur and professional sports. I am very happy that with improvements from the Ministry of Finance fair moves were made. This year we will distribute 66 million euros to sports and it is a matter of days before the money is given.

If there is no amateur sport, there will be no professional sport. And vice versa. That’s why we stuck to 50-50. The academies are constantly increasing, especially after the presence of the national team in Eurobasket. I wish on Sunday that we will all be happy and the audience that will come to enjoy an amazing spectacle and win basketball. Let basketball go higher, because it can and because the climate you cultivate can embrace more people. I believe in the power of basketball and what you stand for.”

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