DUNTON, England - The third film in Ford’s Fascinating World of Football Series is now available to watch online and it features The Vatican where teams of priests from around the globe compete for the Clericus Cup.
If football is a religion for many of its fans, for some of those studying in the seminaries of Vatican City, religion also includes football. The Clericus Cup is an annual five-a-side tournament involving seminarians and priests competing in the Catholic Church’s equivalent of the Champions League, with players from over 70 countries representing 16 teams drawn from the various Roman colleges that make up part of the world’s smallest state, right in the heart of Rome.
Organised into a series of league and knock-out games, in the Clericus Cup teams take each other on in highly competitive – although scrupulously good-natured and brotherly – games of football until, after a four-month season, one of them is eventually crowned champion.
“We take our faith into our football,” says Scott A. Gratton. “If you read the letters of Saint Paul, he’s very passionate about rising above challenges, about stepping up. I always put some of his verses on a slip of paper and put them into my shin pad before I take to the field.”
Mark Paver, who was once on the books of English club Blackburn Rovers, is now a Clericus Cup regular. “I played as a school boy and semi-professionally for 10 years,” says Paver. “Now I’m getting old for a footballer, but I’ve still got enough to compete at this level, so it’s a lot of fun.”
But doesn’t all this will to win put these men of God in the path of temptation and sin? “It’s human nature to be competitive,” says Lewi Barakat. “But it’s a question of what we are fighting for. On the field we battle each other and do our best, but at the end of the day, there’s a greater battle and we’re all on the same side.”
But what about red and yellow cards for those who do fall from grace? Well, these are available to the ref in the Clericus Cup, but there’s also a ‘blue card’ signaling five minutes in the ‘sin bin’ for any player who has exhibited unsportsmanlike behaviour.
This is part of Ford’s Fascinating World of Football, a 3-month series of weekly stories highlighting some of the more unusual stories of European football. To follow the tour and find out more about the support vehicle, the all-new Ford Tourneo Custom, visit facebook.com/FordTourneo