Jul
14
2007
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Football news

Rather better known than the Champions Clerum, the Vatican football league kicked off in the ecclesiastical enclave in February, with sixteen teams taking part in what is known as the Clericus Cup. In addition to the seminarians, students at the state’s theological colleges and young priests, there is also a team representing the Swiss Guards. The final of this year’s championship is set to take place in Rome in June. The players come from 50 countries across five different continents. A third of them are Italian, while there are also 20 Mexicans, 15 Croatians as well as Bosnians, Romanians and Africans. Those taking part are prohibited from voicing and opposition or criticism of any kind towards referees under threat of an immediate sending-off. The staging of the tournament underlines the growing popularity of football in the Vatican. Shortly before Christmas 2006, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone, suggested setting up a Vatican representative team, although this later turned out to have been a joke. Bertone, who last September was appointed right-hand man to Pope Benedict XVI, is a passionate supporter of Italian club Juventus and in 2004 he even appeared on Italian TV as a football expert.