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Vatican calls for sporting chance for all

VATICAN (SE): Representatives from sporting bodies the world over—athletes at all levels and ages—along with coaches, franchise owners, managers, corporate sponsors and experts in fields ranging from sports medicine and psychology to training, discipline, education and formation, gathered at the Vatican on October 7 to discuss the contribution of sport to humanity with leaders from the world’s great religious.

The organisers, the Pontifical Council for Culture and Allianz, hope to foster a worldwide movement that will enrich lives by using sport to strengthen trust-building and learn cooperation, as well as foster friendship and healthy life styles, in addition to simply having fun.

“Sport has the power to teach positive values and enrich lives,” the preamble to the conference notes says, adding that everyone who plays, organises and supports sport, has the opportunity to be transformed by it and to transform others.

Participants at the conference were called upon to remember those who are deprived of the opportunity to play sport, because of prejudice or vested interest. “We have a responsibility to help and share its benefits,” the preamble says.

It described the goal of the conference as uniting from every faith, nationality and culture in a common goal; to help those who need it most, especially the marginalised, as well as encourage everyone to develop life skills, character, build common values and increase their capacity for the enjoyment of life itself.

Pope Francis encouraged the conference to work to ensure all children have the chance to play sport in circumstances of dignity, especially those living in poverty.

The outgoing secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, also addressed the conference.

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