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.
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...