A soccer match proposed by Pope Francis and made up of players representing different cultures and religions is to take place in Rome’s Olympic stadium on September 1st.
The Interreligious Match for Peace will feature current and past players representing different cultures and religions: Buddhist, Christian (Catholic and Protestant), Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Shinto.
According to Vatican Radio, the event is co-organized by the Scholas Occurrentes initiative, an Argentine project strongly backed by Pope Francis to bring education to the poorest in societies across the world. Italy’s Fundazione PUPI is also organizing the match.
It aims to unite fans and players from all world regions and faiths, through their shared love sport, in a moment of unity and solidarity in support of world peace.
The United Nations Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is also partnering with the event.
“The prevention and resolution of conflict is central to the goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition. Indeed, without peace there can be no end to hunger, and without ending hunger, there cannot be peace,” said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.
The proceeds from the event will be given to the project “Un’Alternativa di Vita”, which supports poor children in Buenos Aires.
Former Argentinian national player Javier Zanetti, now Vice-President of Inter Milan, told Vatican Radio: “When I spoke with Pope Francis about this project, it was a big concern for us to do something for world peace.
“I think the fact that so many stars have joined in can help professional football support peace. Although the game is raising money for charitable purposes, the most important thing we want to do is spread the Pope’s message of peace to the world.”