24 Nov 2013

Pope against sporting victory at all costs

11:05 am on 24 November 2013

Pope Francis has warned about the commercialisation of athletes during a meeting with leaders of the Olympic movement.

The Pope said that looking for profit and victory at all costs risked reducing athletes "to mere trading material".

"Sport is harmony, but if money and success prevail as the aim, this harmony crumbles," Pope Francis said on Saturday when meeting International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

"When sport is considered only in economic terms and consequently for victory at every cost, it risks reducing athletes to mere trading material from whom profits are extracted,'' he said.

Pope Francis also met FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Friday.

The BBC reports he had a word too on the spiritual values of team games with the rugby squads of Italy and Argentina .

"Rugby is like life because we are all heading for a goal. we need to run together and pass the ball from hand to hand until we get to it," Pope Francis told the rugby players before their match in Rome.