Trouble is afoot (pun!) for the newly acquired Vatican football franchise. Seems there are some problems when you take the leading moral authority in the Western World for over 2000 years and combine it with the world’s worst behaved popular (curling don’t count!) sport. From AdnKronos via American Papist:

Italy’s Catholic bishops are crying foul about onfield behaviour after their purchase of a professional Italian football team.

The Episcopal Italian Conference (CEI) recently purchased an 80 per cent stake in the professional team of Ancona which comes from the central Italian town on the Adriatic coast.

The CEI has invited a group of Catholic businessmen to manage the team and is looking at a new ethical code to get rid of intolerance on the football field, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

“It is a way of moralising football, bringing a few ethics to an area that is going through a crisis of values,” said Ancona’s archbishop Edoardo Menichelli.

The new owners of the team, also known as “the team of priests” want to punish acts of intolerance, extreme fouls and introduce novel forms of punishment such as voluntary work for unacceptable onfield behaviour.

Managers and fans will also be expected to follow the ethical code. Fans will have to refrain from “improper” conduct against rival fans and using offensive banners.

Ancona F.C. a small team founded in 1905, only four years ago played in Italy’s prestigious first division league Serie A.

It is currently in first place in the third-division of Italian football with good prospects for ascending to second division after the 2007 season.

The team is managed by the “Italian Sports Centre” (CSI) founded by “Catholic Action” (Azione Cattolica) a Christian organisation.

According to La Stampa, ticket prices will be lowered and revenues will be used for projects in developing countries.

The Vatican’s secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone has spoken on several occasions about the possibility of creating a powerful football team that could one day compete with professional teams such as AS Roma, Juventus and Inter Milan.

Of course, as all good Fatimaoaters know, if Bertone has anything to do with it, there must be a cover up.