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FIFA is asked to allow displays of religion in stadiums

2009-07-22

The president of the John Paul II Foundation for Sports in Rome quickly responded when FIFA reprimanded Brazil’s national soccer team for celebrating with religious displays after a victory. 

Edio Costantini
President, John Paul II Foundation for Sports (Roma)

Sports should be an expression of man. Soccer should be the expression of man and of a team. It can’t be deprived of this strength, of this fire, and the capacity it has inside.

Edio Costantini says FIFA’s move in reprimanding players for celebrating with religion is wrong. Because, as he sees it, religion is part and parcel of the world of sports.

Edio Costantini
President, John Paul II Foundation for Sports (Roma)

FIFA can’t stop a team from celebrating because it would deprive soccer from its strength and energy. This energy comes from the people, and the fans.

Costantini believes that the world of sports is plagued with many other problems, and that reprimanding players for displays of religion should be the last on the list.

If FIFA continues doing so, he says, the meaning of the sport can be lost.

Edio Costantini
President, John Paul II Foundation for Sports (Roma)

If we reduce soccer to just a technical expression for the sake of the result, we render it neutral. We deprive it of that energy and the passion of man, the passion of the athlete, the passion of a city, a team and a country.

The only way for sports to undergo an “anthropological revolution,” as Costantini calls it, is to start by putting man at the center of sports, an idea shared by John Paul II.

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