There's a good chance you've never heard of Larissa, Greece. But now you know one very important fact about Larissa, Greece. Citizens of Larissa, Greece are very proud to support their homegrown talent. Pun intended.
Amateur soccer club Voukefalas, whose players include pizza delivery guys, students, waiters and a bartender, has gained attention not from play on the field, but the sponsor they wear across their chest. While now only allowed to wear during training, Voukefalas' newest sponsors are two local brothels - "Villa Erotica" and "Soula's House of History" - owned by 67-year-old madam Soula Alevridou.
Prostitution is legal in Greece but currently the league says the sponsorship violates the ideal image it wants to promote. The cash-strapped team doesn't seem to mind. Club chairman and backup goalkeeper Yiannis Batziolas says the amateur ranks have been hit hard by the financial crisis of the country and it's more of a "question of survival."
Alevridou sees it differently. "Here is where it all begins, with amateur sport. It's where the talent is bred," she noted. "I am a Greek woman, and I love my country.
"If we don't help our scientists and athletes, where will we be?" she asked. "Greece has educated people, cultured people and good athletes. It's better to help them than take our money to Switzerland."
The brothel sponsorship over covers about 10 percent of what the club's expenses but it's worth a start. The other thing that ain't bad?
Alveridou is offering extra incentive to the team: each time they win, the players get "special time" at one of her brothels.