Electric New Paper (20 Oct 07)

The Italian Sports Centre (CSI) – a Christian organisation that promotes education through sport – decided enough was enough so.

Earlier this month, they bought a controlling stake in Serie C1 – the equivalent of Italy’s third division – leaders Ancona.

Although the Vatican denied they were not involved with the project at all, they quietly endorsed the move.

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone praised the project, saying it will ‘bring out the human and spiritual values in sport’.

Pope Benedict XVI also blessed the team after receiving a shirt with the No. 16 from club skipper Giovanni Langella at a general audience in St Peter’s Square.

Ancona played in Italy’s top division only four years ago, but were relegated after winning just 13 points.

The club also reached the final of the Italian Cup in 2004, but lost to Sampdoria.

But it was deeply involved in the match-fixing bribes scandal of two seasons ago.

Its former president, Ermanno Pieroni, was sentenced to 53 days in jail.

Edoardo Menichelli, the Archbishop of Ancona, told The Guardian newspaper the move would help bring more morality into football.

‘We want to bring some ethics back into the game, which has been undergoing a grave crisis in terms of sportsmanship,’ he said.