BY ALEXANDER PAPALOIS/Reuters Greece’s sports minister, who has repeatedly called for the country to return to the Olympic Games, said on Friday Athens had not been able to prove that the stadium was being used for football matches and that the games were not a pre-existing sporting event.

Greece’s Sports Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, also said the country was not in a position to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Mr Kasoulis, who is also the chairman of the Eurogroup, told the BBC that Athens was not able to show the stadium had been used for sporting events in the past.

“We’re not in any position to know whether this is the stadium used for matches or not,” he said.

The Olympics, which Athens is due to host for the first time in 2021, were first hosted in 1960, with a team from Paris competing in the 1932 and 1960 Games.

The Games were hosted for the third time in 1996, with the US and the UK taking the first two.

A report by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2017 found the stadium at the centre of the protest was being kept as an unused building and was not being used to host games.

It said the stadium in the northern part of the city was used for soccer matches and was “a football ground”.

The IPC also said that the protest movement has been fuelled by concerns that Greece’s football team has not been properly rewarded for its performance in the tournament, which ended on May 31.

The IOC said it has been working with Greece’s authorities to investigate claims that Greece was not making proper payments to its players and was also concerned that there were not enough inspectors on the ground to ensure the games are safe.

A total of 23 people were arrested and 10 were injured during the protests.