THE Vatican has announced that some of the world’s most famous soccer players will participate in a sporting event aimed at uniting people of different religions.
The “Inter-religious Match for Peace” will be held on September 1 at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
With proceeds to be donated to charity, the event will involve international players and coaches such as Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Buffon, Zinedine Zidane, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Baggio, Andrea Pirlo, Yuto Nagatomo and Samuel Eto’o.
After Pope Francis met with the Argentine and Italian teams following a friendly match between them in April 2013, the idea for the September match was born.
On that occasion, the footballer Javier Zanetti communicated to the Pope his idea of organising a sporting event uniting people of different religions. A year later, the idea came to shape.
Tickets for the event were to be available from July 25, and all its proceeds will be donated to “Scholas Occurrentes” and to the PUPI Foundation.
Supported by Pope Francis through the Pontifical Council for Sciences, Scholas Occurrentes is an educational organisation that uses technology, art and sport to promote social integration and the culture of encounter.
More than 10 years ago, the non-profit PUPI Foundation was created by Paula and Javier Zanetti. It promotes and supports distance adoption programs and assistance for children in difficult social conditions.