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Rome Reports

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Pope meets with thousands of Lazio athletes, managers and fans

The last time a Pontiff met with one of Italy's main soccer teams, known as 'Lazio' was 15 years ago, when they won their last championship.  This time around, there were no players, but there were thousands of families, managers, supporters and young players who take part in various events within Italy's Sporting Association of Lazio.  ANTONIO BUCCIONI President Sociedad Deportiva Lazio "In this room full of team flags, we have many young people. The same people who regardless of rank, social class, culture, language, religion or nationality, play on our teams. Every weekend they're able to bring different competitive games to our athletes.â? Pope Francis reiterated that sports is about much more than just athletics. It's a way to increase one's self control, he said, and  a way to embrace sacrifice and loyalty.  He also highlighted the goal that led to the creation of this society back in the year 1900, which was to make sports accessible to all.  POPE FRANCIS "I encourage you to continue to welcome and give meaning to many talents. May your sports club always be an open house, where one can experience brotherhood and harmony among people without discrimination.â?  Even though players were not present this time around, some of them have personally met with Pope Francis before.  Back in May 2013, the team captains of both the Rome and Lazio teams presented the Pope with a jersey. It was just before the Italian Cup and the Lazio team won.  JRB/KLH  CTV JM -BN Up:KLH  #Papa