Millions all over the world will be glued to their television sets at 10 AM today, to witness the biggest sporting event on the planet, the final of the FIFA World Cup. FIFA is the acronym for the International Federation of Football Associations (Federation Internationale de Football Association), the world authority governing the game of soccer, known the world over as Football.
Did you know the world cup was founded by a Catholic? Jules Rimet was born in 1873 to a modest family in a small village in Eastern France. Even from young age, Rimet had a heart for the poor, inspired by his Catholic faith. When he was 24 he founded a sports club open to anyone, regardless of class, in an age where class distinctions were prominent. He insisted the club include soccer, though he did not play the game himself and the sport was looked down on as being the game of the proletariat. In 1904 he helped found FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association. His plans to host an international soccer tournament were delayed by the start of World War I. In 1921 he became FIFA’s president and soon after held the first ever World Cup in Uruguay. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1956 for founding the World Cup.
In his honor the trophy to be won at the world cup was called the Jules Rimet Trophy and it remained the highly priced possession of many footballing nations, till it became the permanent property of Brazil by virtue of winning the trophy three times (1958, 1962 and 1970). Since 1970 the championship trophy goes by the name ‘FIFA World Cup’.
Enjoy the FIFA World Cup final (if you are a soccer fan that is), and may the best team win. Have a wonderful week ahead of you.
-------Father Joe SDB