Vatican Amateur Sports Association

Vatican Amateur Sports Association
Founded1972; 48 years ago (1972)
PresidentDomenico Ruggiero
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Vatican Amateur Sports Association (Italian: Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica Sport in Vaticano) is the governing body of all sports activities in Vatican City. [1] The Association is headquartered in the Vatican's Cortile di San Damaso.[2] The current President is Domenico Ruggiero.[3]


The association was founded in 1972 by Dr. Sergio Valci, a Vatican employee. He remained President of the Association until his death in 2012.[1] Mass has been held for members of the Association at Saint Peter's tomb below St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican grottoes.[4]


The Vatican Amateur Sports Association is currently involved with three sports: football, cricket, and athletics.


Vatican City is one of the eight officially recognized and independent states whose national football team is not a member of FIFA (the others are Monaco, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Marshall Islands, and Palau).[1] However, Vatican City has fielded a men's national team since as early as 1994[5] and a women's national team since 2019.[6]

In 2006 UEFA spokesperson William Gaillard told a media outlet that he saw no reason why the Vatican should not have a national team in international competitions. He said, "We already have states of 30,000 citizens like San Marino, Liechtenstein, and Andorra. If the Vatican wants to become a member of UEFA all it has to do is apply. If it meets the requirements, it will be accepted". At that time Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone insisted that the Vatican's football future lies only in amateur games and competitions.[7] In May 2014, Domenico Ruggerio, president of the national football association, stated, "I prefer to be amateur...To join FIFA, at that level, will be like a business" after stating, "The important message of friendship and love is demonstrated by the sport — the real sport, not the business that is in football these days...It is not just important to win a match; it is how you carry yourself." Therefore, that, he added, meant that "the ethos of the Vatican’s soccer team was, at odds with FIFA membership.[8]

In addition to the national teams, the Association organizes the Vatican City Championship,[9] Coppa Sergio Valci,[10] and the Vatican Supercoppa.[11]


The Vatican Cricket Team is an amateur cricket team established by the Vatican in October 2012 to help establish ties between the Catholic Church and countries and regions where the sport is popular including India and the Caribbean and to encourage inter-faith dialogue.[12]


Vatican Athletics was launched in 10 January 2019 with 60 initial accredited members.[13] Vatican Athletics is the first sports team to have legal status in the Vatican and is officially affiliated with the Italian Athletics Federation.[14] The Holy See and the Italian Olympic Committee have made an agreement to set up an official athletics team with the intention making the Vatican City able to compete in international sporting tournaments including the Summer Olympics.[14] The Vatican will have to secure membership of the International Association of Athletics Federations to be able to compete internationally as well as set up a National Olympic Committee to be able to participate in the Olympics.[15]


  1. ^ a b c "Storia" (in Italian). Vatican Amateur Sports Association. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  2. ^ Nuti, Nicola. "Vaticano: 7 squadre per il campionato di calcio" (in Italian). News Cattoliche. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Organigramma" (in Italian). Vatican Amateur Sports Association. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Santa Sede. Messa per l?Associazione Sportiva" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  5. ^ Schöggl, Hans. "Vatican City International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  6. ^ Thomas, Marissa. "Pope gives blessing as Vatican launches women's football team". Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Vatican squashes soccer team idea". Italy Magazine. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  8. ^ Montague, James. "A Friendly Game for a Beatific State". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Classifica" (in Italian). Vatican Amateur Sports Association. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  10. ^ "COPPA VATICANA 2018 – 2019" (PDF) (in Italian). Vatican Amateur Sports Association. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Partite Supercoppa Vaticana" (in Italian). Vatican Amateur Sports Association. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  12. ^ Pullella, Philip (20 December 2013). "Cricket holy war on as Anglicans accept Vatican challenge". Reuters.
  13. ^ Picheta, Rob; Borghese, Livia (11 January 2019). "Godspeed! Vatican launches official athletics team". CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Nuns on the run: Vatican launches athletics team and targets Olympics". The Guardian. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  15. ^ Pavitt, Michael (11 January 2019). "Vatican establish athletics association but several hurdles remain before potential Olympic inclusion". Inside the Games. Retrieved 28 June 2019.