Football: Olympiakos to aid quake-struck Cephalonia

Greek champions Olympiakos announced Thursday that they will provide funds to reconstruct schools damaged by earthquakes last week on the Greek island of Cephalonia.

Extensive damage was caused by the earthquakes to many homes and public buildings, including schools on the Ionian Sea holiday island which have temporarily shut.

Olympiakos president Vangelis Marinakis' initiative was immediately accepted by Education Minister Constantine Arvanitopoulos, the club announced.

"Olympiakos stands besides the inhabitants of Cephalonia in their time of need. Solidarity and offer of help is closely linked to the history, principles and values of our society. We need the people of Cephalonia to feel safe and keep their children in school," Marinakis said.

It is estimated by authorities that the cost of repairing the schools in Cephalonia will be about 500,000 euros ($679,458), which Olympiakos - who face Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League later this month - have promised to cover.

Cephalonia has previously been struck by earthquakes several times.

In August 1953 a major earthquake killed 450 people and destroyed virtually every house on the island.

The Ionian island of some 35,000 inhabitants was also the setting for the popular novel "Captain Corelli's Mandolin", about a World War II romance between an Italian soldier and a local woman.

A 2001 movie of the same name, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, was filmed there. Greece is one of Europe's most earthquake-prone countries.