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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 15, 2006

No clerical error: Vatican to participate in tournament

ROME -- The Vatican is getting ready to battle it out with priests in Rome. On a soccer field. The inaugural Clericus Cup will kick off in February 2007, and the Vatican will be one of the 16 teams. The final will take place in the Italian capital at the end of June, organizers said Friday.

"The Clericus Cup (is) an occasion for all those enthusiasts, and some former players -- who are in seminaries today, attending university, studying to be a priest -- to put themselves back in the game, dribbling, making saves and headers," the Italian Sports Center, which is organizing the event, said in a statement on its Web site.

CSI is a Christian organization that promotes education through sport.

The teams likely will be made up of trainee priests, who are studying at the various pontifical universities in Rome. Games are limited to one hour -- rather than the normal 90 minutes -- which may attract some older players.

Pope John Paul II was a keen sportsman and played soccer in his youth, mostly as a goalkeeper.