Pope Francis warns against commercialising athletes

With Olympic leaders

Pope Francis has warned that the commercialisation of sport may undermine its spiritual values, telling Olympic leaders that looking for victory at all costs risked reducing athletes 'to mere trading material', reports the BBC.

'Sport is harmony, but if money and success prevail as the aim, this harmony crumbles,' Pope Francis said. Pope Francis, who was elected in March, has struck a different tone to his predecessor on a range of issues.

The Pope had two days of meetings with leaders of the world of sport. He met Sepp Blatter, the head of the International Football Federation, FIFA, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

He has also been talking about the spiritual values of team games with the rugby squads of Italy and Argentina - ahead of their encounter in Rome, our correspondent says.

'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.

Pope Francis played basketball as a young man and is a keen supporter of his local San Lorenzo football club in Buenos Aires, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome.

FULL STORY Pope Francis warns against commercialising athletes

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