Cassocks for goalposts: Cardinal plans Vatican FC
Tuesday 19 December 2006
Footballers across Italy were throwing punches and dodging coins at the weekend. But if there is any truth in the redemptive power of religion, that could all change when the Vatican fields its own professional team, in the papal yellow and white strip.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is the new Secretary of State, the number two in the Holy See. He is also a passionate football fan - a Juventus supporter since his days as a Salesian seminarian in Turin - and the only cardinal to have commentated on the sport on the radio.
On Sunday, the cardinal let journalists in on his little dream. "I don't exclude the possibility that in the future the Vatican could field a football team of the greatest value, at the level of the most famous professional clubs," he said.
He appeared to leave open the question of whether the Vatican side would compete as a club or as a national team.
The raw material was in place, the cardinal pointed out. "If, for example, we took all the Brazilian students from our pontifical universities, we could make a magnificent team," he said.
William Gaillard, a spokesman for Uefa, the governing body of European football, backed the cardinal's idea. He said: "The Vatican is a sovereign state recognised by the UN, and we would have no problem in accepting it as a member."
Home games might be a problem, however. As the area of the Vatican state is only 0.2 square miles, a stadium would require the demolition of St Peter's. Even the cardinal is not proposing that.
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: NON-CONTENTIOUS (0-2 PQE) - A rare opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Financial Analyst is required to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This major European Intellectual Propert...