DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     June 11-13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 113

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Vatican Newspaper Comments Sale of Soccer Player Christian Vieri

          VATICAN CITY, JUN 10 (ZENIT).- In a June 11 editorial, L'Osservatore Romano commented on the sale of Italian soccer player Christian Vieri for almost $50 million. The title of the column was, "When the Law of Economics Dominates the Sport."

          The editor of the Vatican newspaper finds that figure exaggerated. "In fact, even public opinion has raised its voice in disagreement: it is an offense to the poor; it makes no sense in a country where up until a few months ago the people were being asked to make sacrifices for entry into the European Union. It is unworthy when, not far from Italy, the drama of hundreds of thousands of refugees, forced to live in misery and great uncertainty, unfolds."

          In this instance, "the voice of the people expresses very well how this millionaire's soccer game is distancing itself from the people," the article states.

    Altered Scale of Values

          "Over the last few years, the teams have become real businesses; attention is paid first to business and economic gain," the column continued. "The priority is no longer the sport itself, but the kind of money winner it is. In practice, the scale of values has been altered. Business is business, and the rest does not matter. To buy a player for $50 million is not even a technical decision; it is simply an economic investment."

    Sport as Instrument

          The Holy See's newspaper explains that "in the context where the ones who dictate the rules are the sponsors, the television channels, advertising and now the market shares, the sports event becomes an instrument -- a 'media event' and, as such, useful."

          "But, given this perspective, what remains of football, or rather, of the ideals and values that the sport fomented?" asks the column. "Events of this kind do not educate, ... [They are] an insidious attempt on the sport and the values it represents."

    Ethics and Market

          The Italian Soccer League has expressed its concern, not for the sum paid, but over the stratospheric salary the player has been offered. It fears that, henceforth, all star players will demand higher compensation. In fact, this institution has already stated its concern that such pay is not "moral."

          L'Osservatore Romano concludes by showing how ethics and the market cannot be separated, since "the market rules by themselves are insufficient." Moreover, "to make an evaluation from the ethical point of view does not mean to moralize but simply to ask if it is just and acceptable." ZE99061008

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 11-13, 1999       volume 10, no. 113


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