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World Cup Soccer: Chapels Closed

June 20, 2006

Soccer World Cup: FIFA Seals Chapels
World Association Quotes Security and Religious Concerns

Berlin, June 19 (idea) – The international soccer association FIFA has closed and sealed the chapels in two world cup venues. The Olympic stadium in Berlin and the arena “Auf Schalke” in Gelsenkirchen are the only soccer venues with chapels in Germany.

According to Bernhard Felmberg, sports liaison officer of the Protestant Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, FIFA gives two reasons for the closures: security concerns and respect for adherents of non-Christian religions.

As Felmberg told the evangelical news agency “idea”, church representatives are currently conferring with FIFA officials about a re-opening of the chapels. FIFA has domestic authority over the twelve venues during the world cup.

Felmberg’s wish is to have the chapels open in time for the next matches. Ecuador plays Germany in Berlin, June 20, and Portugal meets Mexico in Gelsenkirchen, June 21.

The chapel in Berlin was opened only three weeks ago with the expressed purpose of serving as a place of prayer and meditation for footballers during the World Cup.

Devoted Christians play in many of the 32 teams competing in the world cup, for instance in the Brazilian, South Korean, Dutch, German, Ghanaian and US sides. There is even a Christian in the Iranian team – the Armenian Andranik Teymourian.

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Evangelical news agency idea. Wolfgang Polzer
Tel: +49-6441-915102, Fax: +49-6441-915118
E-Mail: Wolfgang.Polzer@idea.de - Internet: www.idea.de
Postal address: idea, PO Box 1820, 35528 Wetzlar, Germany