Five footballers are facing year long bans after a match between two church sides descended into a mass brawl. Zion Athletic and Common Ground United are both members of the West Midlands Christian League, a league set up to promote peace and understanding!
Trouble flared up early in the second half of the match with Zion leading 5-1. Zion players have been accused of bating United players after a penalty decision went their way. As a fight ensued a United player who had earlier been sent off ran back onto the pitch to get stuck in.
In a league where bad language is a sending off offence and spitting and arguing are ‘frowned upon’, last weekends game was abandoned with five United players on ‘violent conduct’ charges.
Tony Sadia, Common Grounds founder, has claimed that his players were provoked. “It’s devastating and shocking” he told reporters ”we don’t condone this sort of behaviour.”
But investigations by the Heckler suggest that the league as a whole DOES condone this behaviour. The leagues mission statement reads that players are expected to behave “both on and off the pitch in a manner morally, decently and ethically sound of action and speech, honouring the name of Jesus Christ”.
Anyone whose read anything of the Bible would be aware that the levels of violence on that football pitch last Saturday falls well below what is expected of a good Christian.
Mr Sadia went on to say that “Some of our players have had a bad course in life. By going to church, you don’t expect it to change overnight. Sometimes they go off the rails”.
While it may seem laudable to help these vulnerable young men, you have to wonder if they are spoiling the beautiful game by bringing religion into it. Football and Christianity, in particular, have never made good bed fellows, and besides, science is yet to prove that having an imaginary friend increases your goal keeping skills!!