Pope warns against money in football

AFP| Updated: May 02, 2014, 17:32 PM IST

Vatican City: Pope Francis on Friday warned money "risks contaminating" football and called for a return to "sporting dignity" at a Vatican meeting with players from Italian Cup finalists Fiorentina and Napoli.

"Football is a big business now because of advertising, television, etcetera. But the economic factor must not prevail over the sporting one because it risks contaminating everything," he told them.

"As a boy I used to go to the stadium a lot, I have happy memories. Joyful moments, on Sundays, with my family. I hope football and sports in general regains that sense of a celebration," he said.

He also said footballers had "a great responsibility" because young people looked up to them, telling them: "Your behaviour has a resonance, for better or worse".

Napoli are the slight favourites against Fiorentina at the match on Saturday in Rome`s Olympic Stadium, hoping to clinch their club`s second final triumph.