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Rome Reports

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“Vatican Champions League” begins


The priests of Rome take the field once again. The 12th edition of the Clericus Cup is underway, joining more than 300 players from 71 countries.

ALESSIO ALBERTINI
Clericus Cup Organizer

The first beneficiaries are the priests themselves – it's good for their bodies and minds. In addition, the sport has a missionary element. It helps you find young people you wouldn't find by just doing a catechesis.”

The “Lions of Africa” from the Pontifical Urban College will fight tooth and nail to defend their title. They're fast and, most importantly, young. They frighten priests like Nelson, who says one can only pray when facing off against the seminarians.

NELSON STAÑULIS
Colegio Sacerdotal Altomonte

Yes, in fact, I'm 40 years old, and last Sunday we played against the Urban College, who are 20, 22 years old, so you can tell the difference; regardless it's always a challenge for us.”

A first this year is having a priest as referee, because if divine law must be respected, the pitch is no exception.

JORDAN CORAGLIA
Referee

I normally don't referee the young guys' games anymore, because they play on Saturdays and Sundays, right when the priest is working. I talk with a lot of the players and appreciate when they let me know I made a bad call.”

SIMONE MONTORI
Colegio Redemptoris Mater

There are people who go to confession because they get angry... but that's how soccer is. When the adrenaline rises, all you want to do is win.”

What's more, the final will be played on May 26, the same day as the Champions League Final. Before play begins, organizers hope to bring the Cup to the pope to receive his blessing during the General Audience.