In times of national economic peril, the impact is felt from the biggest conglomerates down to the smallest local businesses.
In Greece, local sports clubs are suffering. But the local sex industry is not. That reality became the impetus for one of the more unusual sports sponsorship deals the beautiful game has ever seen.
The Voukefalas amateur soccer club in Larissa has turned to a pair of local brothels to keep it afloat. The team now sports pink practice jerseys adorned with the logos of “Villa Erotica” and “Soula’s House of History.”
“Unfortunately, amateur football has been abandoned by almost everyone,” club chairman and backup goalkeeper Yiannis Batziolas told the Associated Press. “It’s a question of survival.”
Surviving the ongoing recession in Greece is also why women turn to the country’s legal prostitution industry. Other soccer clubs are also getting creative as they look to find funding.
As the AP reports:
Other teams have also turned to unconventional financing. One has a deal with a local funeral home and others have wooed kebab shops, a jam factory and producers of Greece’s trademark feta cheese.
The league has banned Voukefalas from wearing the jerseys during matches, claiming that the logos are inappropriate for young fans, but the club is contesting the ban.
But Soula’s House of History owner Soula Alevridou is not shelling out more than 1,000 euros ($1,312) simply to see her brothel’s name on a jersey; she has a passion for soccer and wants to see Voukefalas become a winner.
More from the AP:
Alevridou watched in disappointment as her team lost its fourth straight game, 1-0, despite her promise to players of “a special time” at her businesses if they won.
“There’s a lot still missing. We have no midfield,” said Alevridou, a slightly built woman with a husky voice. “Many of our boys have jobs that keep them working at night. And if we have a game the following morning, they can’t have a real presence on the pitch. … They need more help.”
(H/T Dirty Tackle)