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Football-loving Pope Francis received representatives from FIFPro during an audience, Wednesday, March 19, in Rome, as part of a global initiative to promote social inclusion through education.

FIFPro, the World Footballers’ Association, was invited by the Pontiff to lend its support to ‘Scholas Occurentes’, an international network of schools that the Vatican launched in August, 2013, with the official backing of superstars Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon. Its objectives are to inspire all children around the world by promoting respect between different cultures, to protect the environment and to foster cooperation over competition, regardless of race or religion.

The head of the Argentine players’ association (FAA) Carlos Pandolfi, who was present in Rome, and FAA Secretary-General, Sergio Marchi, have been working to bring FIFPro and Pope Francis closer together on the ‘Scholas Occurentes’ project. A passion for raising social awareness through the power of football is a bond that FIFPro shares with Pope Francis, who is a lifelong supporter of Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo.

After a brief exchange with the head of the Catholic church, FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen, FIFPro Vice President Rinaldo Martorelli and FIFA Vice President Julio Grondona signed a letter of support which officially unites the football family behind ‘Scholas Occurentes’.



Theo van Seggelen, Carlos Pandolfi, Rinaldo Martorelli meet Pope Francis