After the long wait of 47 years, Vatican City has finally launched its first-ever women’s football team. More than half the new team are female staff working in the Vatican along with employees’ wives and daughters. The first assignment of the Football team will be against AS Roma (women’s side), on May 26, before competing in an international match in Vienna later in June as part of a tournament being organized by the Vatican’s children’s hospital, Bambino Gesù.
An avid football fan and supporter of San Lorenzo in Argentina, Pope Francis has reportedly given his blessing to the plans. “Pope Francis has given considerable impulse to women within the Vatican, therefore this initiative is an extension of that,” Danilo Zennaro, a representative of the association that organizes the Vatican’s football activities, told The Guardian.
“We’ve had a men’s team for 48 years so it was only right to offer the possibility to women who work within the Vatican to practice the sport, Zennaro said.
“Even if they lose 30-0, this doesn’t matter,” he continued. “What matters is that these women get the opportunity to know professional players. Win or lose, it’s also about creating connections and friendships.”
The women’s side joins the men’s Vatican Football team, which was founded back in 1972, in representing the independent city-state. Not currently a member of FIFA and therefore unable to compete in qualifying for the World Cup or European Championships, the Vatican City national football team has played 10 official games to date, winning one, drawing three and losing six.
Vatican City’s one and only victory came against Swiss side SV Vollmond in 2006.