Pope warns against money in football
VATICAN- Agence Presse France
Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the end of his general audience at St Peter's square, on April 30, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTOPope 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.