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Pope’s football match for peace takes place

Tue 02 Sep 2014
By Antony Bushfield

A star studded football match organised by Pope Francis to promote peace around the world has been played in Rome.

The 'Interreligious Soccer Match for Peace' brought together Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists.

Before kick off The Holy Father spoke to both teams and other audience members.

He said: “I thank you because you have subscribed to my desire to see champions and coaches of various countries and religions compete in a sporting event to witness feelings of brotherhood and friendship.

“Tonight is an opportunity to raise funds for charity projects, but especially to reflect on the values that sport and football can promote values that are common to every person, regardless of religious belief and its culture. Say no to discrimination.”

Players included Maradona , Carlos Valderrama, Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi and Andrea Pirlo.

The match, played at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, was thought up after a meeting between Pope Francis and former Argentine player Javier Zanetti.

All the money raised is going to Scholas, a project aiming to connect schools and educational networks from different cultures and beliefs from around the world.

In the end the Pope’s team lost six – three.

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