Vatican launches its own cricket club

The Vatican has started its own cricket club as part of efforts to strengthen relations with other faiths and bring people from diverse backgrounds together.

Vatican launches its own cricket club
Photo: GregSmith/Flickr

The St Peter’s Cricket club has so far attracted about 300 priests as well as students attending colleges associated with the Holy See, which is represented by people from 180 countries around the world, Italian media reported.

Part of the plan is to start an inter-college league, which will be used to recruit players for a Vatican national side.

Nuns will also be organized into teams, with the Vatican squad using the coat of arms of St Peter’s as a symbol.

"Sports are a powerful means to convey values, attitudes, a moral and ethical message," Monsignor Melchor Sanchez, honorary president of St. Peter's Cricket Club, told ANSA news agency.

The team from the Church of England, which broke away from the Vatican more than 400 years ago, is reported to be high on the list of the Vatican side’s desired opponents.

Matches will be played at a pitch near Ciampino Airport, which is already used by the Italian Cricket Team.

The Vatican, which sponsors sports through a special body, already has an annual football tournament for Catholic institutions, known as the Clericus Cup.  

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German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season

Bundesliga clubs and other German sports venues will be allowed to welcome up to 25,000 spectators from next month, the city of Berlin said Tuesday after a meeting of officials from Germany's 16 states.

German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season
Germany fans at the recent Euro 2020 match in London. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

Most matches in Germany’s top football league were played behind closed doors last season – so-called Geisterspiele or ghost games – because of the Covid-19 virus.

The new Bundesliga season starts on August 13th and with infection rates having fallen sharply, sports stadiums could be at 50 percent capacity, with the total number per match or event capped at 25,000.

The only exception is reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, where up to 20,000 fans will be allowed into home games at the 75,000-capacity Allianz Arena because officials in Bavaria are allowing only 35 percent of capacity.

The new rules apply until September 11 and amid concerns in Germany about the Delta variant of the coronavirus, incidence rates must not exceed 35 new infections per 100,000 people over the previous seven days.

READ ALSO: German states call for uniform Covid rules at big events

If that happens, and “the infection cannot be clearly contained”, a maximum of 5,000 spectators will be allowed into sports events, German officials warned.

Only fans who can prove they are vaccinated or present a negative test will be allowed into stadiums and hygiene rules must be followed.

An easing of the regulations meant crowds of around 14,000 were allowed to attend Euro 2020 matches at Munich’s Allianz Arena over the last three weeks, but fans were largely kept out of German league games last season.