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Saturday, October 6, 2007

AC Ancona Purchased by the Vatican Council of Bishops

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

A few days ago, the majority shares of Ancona, a Serie C (Italian 3rd division) team, were purchased by a somewhat different buyer: Centro Sportivo Italiano. Better known as the Vatican Council of Bishops.

"CSI, which is run by the Vatican's Conference of Bishops, has drafted an ethics code both for players and fans and will invest the profits in projects to help developing countries and Catholic youth in Italy.

'It is a way to moralize football, to bring some ethics to a sector that is going through a deep crisis of values,' said Ancona archbishop Edoardo Menichelli, who recently played a benefit game against an Italian national team of singers. CSI president Edio Costantini said the centre wants 'to invest in the true meaning of sport.
We want football to be again a means of education and not tied to strictly monetary values. We will show that, for boys, football is not just an illusion or a bad example.' "
Source: News 24.com from South Africa, 6 October 2007.

Relegated to Serie C in 2004

Actually, they were in the Serie A as recently as 2004, but went bankrupt. Which meant an automatic relegation to Serie C, along with the loss of their name: Ancona Calcio 1905.

The Role of Religion in Italy

Should a religious organization own the majority shares of a soccer team?

The Holy Father is a supporter of Bayern Muncheon. Before him, Pope John Paul II was a fan (along with many of the Cardinals in Rome) of Liverpool FC.

Image courtesy of Charley Patton.

Very few Italians truly practice Catholicism, the birth rate in Italy is one of the lowest in the EU, and Sunday afternoons are spent worshiping outside of the confines of beautiful churches. In Italy, the true religion is calcio. Surely, calcio italiano has scandals, fan violence, and other unsavory elements. But it is an example of real life, and is certainly not an illusion.

The team colors of AC Ancona are red and white. That is one thing that the Vatican will not have to change. ;-)

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