(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said football (soccer) calls for a social responsibility
on the part of players, both on and off the pitch, as well as football managers and
directors. His remarks came in an address on Friday to players of two Serie
A Italian football teams, Fiorentina and Napoli, as well as to directors of Italy’s
National Football Federation and the Serie A League.
The Pope told the football players and directors that he has many wonderful memories of going to the local football stadium as a boy with members of his family. He described those outings as “glorious” occasions and said he hoped all popular sports like football can recover that festive flavour.
Noting that football nowadays is a huge business interest, Pope Francis said "the financial factor must not prevail over the sporting factor" in football because it “risks polluting everything, ” both at the national and local level. He reminded the players that as role models for their many fans, especially the young, they have a great social responsibility to always behave well, like “true sportsmen.”
Sport has a strong educational value that encourages “solidarity, loyalty and respect for others, “ the Pope concluded, and I hope that football will always promote this potential.