I was greatly struck during the week by the story that the Italian Bishop's Conference had acquired a controlling interest in Italian third division side AC Ancona with the aim of bringing more morality into soccer.
As part of this, the Vatican apparently plans to introduce an ethical code that will punish Ancona players for any foul play. Further, ticket prices for home games will drop in price, with all profits going to projects in the third world.
Now this really got me thinking about the transformation that might take place in soccer. Yes, Virginia, I still call it soccer. After all, I am still an unregenerate Rugby fan, although I do enjoy watching soccer.
Think, among other things, of the loss to the world of theatre should players no longer be able to take those spectacular dives, writhing in agony on the ground. Our family habit of awarding points out of 10 for dramatic art would no longer be possible.
There may, however, be a small teensy weensy problem in all this.
Last year Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a fanatical soccer follower and the Vatican secretary of state, established the Clericus Cup tournament for priests and seminarians in Rome. While this was a great success, it appears that there was rather more dirty play than expected!
I must say that as one who has played football in his dim and now very distant school boy past against two saintly Sydney GPS schools with their priestly trainers, I have always been struck by their kind and gentle game. Still, as a breakaway I did get my own back from time to time!
I will follow developments with interest.