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FIFA Reopens Soccer Chapels

June 22, 2006

Christian Protests in Berlin Bear Fruit

Berlin, June 20 (idea) – In response to widespread Christian protests the international soccer association FIFA has reopened the chapel in the Olympic stadium in Berlin. The surprising move came shortly before the match Ecuador vs. Germany, June 20.

Bernhard Felmberg, sports liaison officer of the Protestant Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, is well pleased. He told the evangelical news agency “idea”: “We are delighted with the FIFA decision.”

FIFA closed and sealed the chapels in Berlin and Gelsenkirchen - the only soccer venues with chapels in Germany – for security reasons and out of respect for adherents of non-Christian religions.

FIFA has domestic authority over the twelve venues during the world cup. Felmberg is hopeful that the chapel in Gelsenkirchen will also be unlocked ahead of the match Portugal vs. Mexico, June 21.

The chapel in Berlin was dedicated 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 squads. 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