13 June 2018
Catholic News Service
Pope calls for World Cup in Russia to promote peace
'May this important sports event become an occasion..promoting solidarity and peace between nations'
As 32 nations get ready to vie for the World Cup in Russia, Pope Francis greeted players, organisers and football fans who will be following "this event that overcomes all borders."
"May this important sports event become an occasion for encounter, dialogue and fraternity between different cultures and religions, promoting solidarity and peace between nations," said the Argentine pope, who is an avid football fan.
He made his remarks in an appeal at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square on 13 June.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is being hosted by Russia from 14 June to 15 July. It is the first time the quadrennial tournament, which began in 1930, is to be held in Eastern Europe.
The ball being used in the first match -- Russia vs. Saudi Arabia -- had been taken to the International Space Station by a Russian cosmonaut in March and returned to Earth on 3 June.
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