World Cup Champs Postpone Papal Audience

MADRID, Spain, FEB. 11, 2011 ( Spain’s World Cup-winning soccer team has postponed a papal audience that was set to take place in Rome on Valentine’s Day.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation cited “irrevocable commitments” on the part of the Spanish soccer players as the reason for postponing the meeting.

The Spanish team dedicated their 2010 World Cup win in South Africa to Benedict XVI, who invited the squad to visit the Vatican on Feb. 14. 

Monday’s meeting, however, would have taken place 48 hours before a round of 16 match-up between soccer clubs Barcelona and Arsenal in the Champions League. Some eight members of the Spain squad are also members of Barcelona, and one member also plays for Arsenal. Barcelona head coach Josep Guardiola felt the timing would hurt the team’s chances on Wednesday in London.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation proposed August as a better moment for the audience.