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Unintended consequences

2010/08/25

The recent sport related (but unsporting) events bring to mind the point I was trying to make in my previous post: That an organization must rely on its people following rules and processes and not on their display of filotimo (which must be saved for extreme circumstances only).

A decision was made to have the grass surface of the field in the Olympic Stadium of Athens replaced. The works begun and reports in the press showed progress. However, a pump was broken while the person responsible for it was on leave. This event went unnoticed until a friendly match was given between Panathinaikos and Genoa C.F.C. In this match, Djibril Cisse, Panathinaikos’ main fire power was injured. So were two players of Genoa. The pitch was declared unusable and will be replaced after the U2 concert in the Stadium (September 3).

Tomorrow AEK, who also use the Stadium as home, is supposed to play against Dundee United for the Europa League competition. Only now they face the problem of having to find a home stadium for the match to be played. In a controversial for some fans agreement, they decided to use the Nea Smyrni Stadium, home of Panionios FC. Angered by the agreement, Panionios’ fans entered the pitch and made it virtually unusable, not only for AEK, but for Panionios’ home game in Saturday too! Now AEK is supposed to defend its win, using Karaiskakis Stadium, Olympiacos‘ home, with no fans on their side- only fans of Dundee United who traveled from Scotland will watch the game.

A broken pump while a single person was on leave has lead to two damaged soccer fields and a team not having the support of their fans while giving an international competition game at home. This displays the complexity and inter-connectivity between systems in this world in weird and unforeseen ways, where the law of unintended consequence strikes, with a seemingly low priority glitch creating so much havoc because “the system” could not deal with (or even detect) it.

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