An Italian endeavor to promote Christian values in sports through a partnership with an Italian soccer team has ended due to a dispute over finances, The Times reports.
Last October, the Catholic sports organization Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI) agreed to back the Italian third division club Ancona. CSI complained that the soccer club did not fund Catholic charities in Italy and Africa, as agreed.
"Divorce will be inevitable unless the club opens up its purse strings,'' said Edio Costantini, head of CSI. “The club will have to accept full responsibility if the scheme collapses. Let's hope they repent. Fine words are not enough, we need money.”
The soccer club accused CSI of reneging on the deal by failing to provide one million Euros in sponsorship. Giampiero Schiavoni, the Ancona club chairman, told the newspaper La Stampa that the accusations have been “a bolt from the blue.”
“We expected quite different behavior from a Catholic institution," he continued. Though he said the original concept was a very good idea, he said it was "ridiculous that an attempt to inject moral values into sport has ended in a quarrel about money."
Ancona’s mostly left-wing fans had objected to the deal as an example of Church “interference” in Italian life.
Though the Vatican approved of the project, it was not directly involved.