Pope Francis poses for a photo with his football team Pope Francis poses for a photo with his football team 

Vatican News to broadcast first soccer match on Sunday

Vatican News – Vatican Radio is set to broadcast its first football match on Sunday, highlighting the ethical value of sport as the World Rom Organization and the "Pope's team - Fratelli tutti" meet up in Rome for a friendly match.

By Devin Watkins

The “Pope’s team – Fratelli tutti” faces off against the World Rom Organization on Sunday for a friendly match.

The soccer game kicks off at 2:30 PM Rome time (broadcast begins at 2:00 PM) at the Training Center of the Lazio Sporting Association in Formello, north of Rome.

The friendly match was requested by the Zagreb-based World Rom Organization, and is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture and financed by the Lazio football club.

The Pope’s team – Fratelli tutti boasts Swiss Guards, Vatican employees, and priests on its roster, as well as three young migrants and a young Special Olympian with Down’s Syndrome.

The soccer friendly will be Lazio’s forward, Ciro Immobile, who has scored over 160 goals for the Lazio club.

Ethical value of sport

According to Massimiliano Menichetti, head of Vatican Radio, this is the first time Vatican Radio – Vatican News has broadcast a football match.

“It’s an important occasion for us to underline the ethical value of sport,” he said in a press release. “This initiative is indeed unique, and was born ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Slovakia, to the Roma neighborhood of Lunik IX. It offers an original way to emphasize acceptance, inclusiveness, and integration, all values which have always been reflected in sport.”

Mr. Menichetti added that the fundraising linked to the match “will support the project ‘A kick to exclusion’, set up by the Diocese of Rome to promote the inclusion of Roma people and other vulnerable people.”

“Our wish for everyone is: May the best man win!” said Mr. Menichetti.

Members of the same team

Pope Francis met Saturday with participants in the soccer friendly for a Vatican audience.

He spoke about how people of all races and ethnicities are called to “play as members of the same team, each with his or her own special role.”

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20 November 2021, 14:49