Vatican Prepares for Holy World Cup

A unique international football tournament is set to kick off this weekend, as Catholic priests and seminarians unite in Italy to take part in the Clericus Cup.

The tournament has been organised directly by the Vatican and an Italian sports body, and will involve clergy from 50 states.

Each match will last just one hour, and a special 'Blue Card' is being implemented to send off offending holy men for a five minute sin bin.

The tournament will commence this weekend and continue until the winners are crowned in a Final in June.

It is scheduled that almost all matches will be played at the Vatican football pitch in Rome, the BBC has reported.

Edio Costantini of organisers the Italian Sporting Centre said, "We want to raise the awareness of current and future leaders of parishes and Church communities of the educational and pastoral importance of sport," according to Reuters.

Emil Martin, a player with the Pontifical Urban College team explained: "I expect [the cup] to create a friendly relationship among the players and the teams.

"I hope each one can learn to win but also to lose because not everybody knows how to lose," he said according to AP.

Italian sports officials have said that they hope the tournament can help restore a positive image of football in Italy, where recent violence and scandals have plagued the game.