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Russia 2018: mgr. Lebrun (bishop and former referee), football “teaches us to work as a team, to be opponents without violence”

“A joy”. Mgr. Dominique Lebrun, bishop of Rouen, is delighted. For as many as thirteen years he had been a referee for the French Football Federation. On the telephone with SIR, the bishop does not hide his satisfaction for having “his” team play the finals with Croatia: “It was a joy to see this team get to give their all again, after the problems of some years ago, and that’s also because its players are so young. However, it would not have been a tragedy or even less an injustice if Belgium had won. It was a well-balanced match”. The bishop also has words of comfort for Belgium and England, who did not make it. “I have been very sorry for Belgium, which is a smaller country, with a smaller population than France. It would have been nice if they had had a chance to win. I hoped we would play England in the finals, so we could make friends with that population who is leaving Europe”. Then, in the years of football transfers, bishop Lebrun sends a message. “Sport is a game. We should never forget it, even if there are professionals and billions of money moving around in those circles. But it’s a game that involves people, all over the world. Football is a game that requires footballers in the pitch to give their all. It requires gratuitousness. However baffling that may sound in the years of football transfers, where billions of money go around, such gratuitousness is inherent in sport. Football, then, arouses very strong feelings of belonging and involvement in us. It touches our hearts, it touches deep inside us, and it also touches our most intimate passions. So, it can be a very intense school of life that teaches us and asks us: what do we give to other people? How do we relate with other people? Can we work as a team and be opponents without violence, so as to build a nice game together, each one with their own talents and skills?”.

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