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Supplicants storm Sydney as Pope Joseph hits town

Sport has often been compared to religion, but I think it is Amazon Uk Prada Shoes fair to say that Sepp Blatter has rarely been likened to the schismatic antipopes of Avignon in the late 14th century. Perhaps he would reject the idea that his power and style make him a credible rival to the Pope of Rome (although, then again, perhaps not). Yet Best Prada Outlet In Florence it is hard not to draw parallels between his presence in Sydney this week for the Fifa congress and the arrival of Pope Authentic Prada Outlet Online Usa Benedict in July for the jamboree known as World Youth Day.

Benedict will demonstrate his earthly powers by shutting down the city for a week, causing unholy traffic chaos and persuading half a million punters (or pilgrims, as they prefer) to visit Randwick racecourse just when there are Black Prada Chain Bag no horses running. Joseph of Zurich is scarcely less influential. His authority extends to threatening to excommunicate Iraq, nailing down theological doctrine on the “six-plus-five” controversy and allowing hopeful hosts of the 2018 World Cup to pick up his scented hanky from wherever he may casually drop it.

Australia is among those seeking indulgences for 2018. It may seem implausibly remote, but we have got used to much more unlikely venues for traditional events recently: Test cricket is pencilled in for Southampton and Cardiff; the formula one circuit has reached Turkey and China; Belgrade embraces Eurovision and the Premier League has made plans for matches in the most preposterous, Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Uk Sale far-flung locations – although I’m told motorway access to Hull is much improved these days.

Appealing for divine intervention in sport has a long and inglorious history (“Please God, make the other bloke lose” has never seemed a particularly Christian attitude to me, though I’m sure top theologians could justify it) but it has at least taken a variety of interesting forms, even in the past week. While the World Cup jockeying demanded a good deal of bending the knee, kissing the ring and offering responses in the right places, others demonstrated a much more direct route to higher powers.

Dwayne Bravo gave the Almighty a resounding high five for His role in dragging West Indies cricket out of the mire. “One thing that can stand out is that the team has been praying three times a day, and that’s the most important thing,” the all-rounder noted after helping to dismiss Australia for 167 in the second innings of the first Test at Sabina Park. “As a team we are getting close to Him and our prayers are being answered.” Sadly for Bravo, the Lord continues to move in mysterious ways, including through former estate agents hoping to make a career in financial planning, such as Stuart Clark. He took five for 32 (including Bravo for a no doubt divinely ordained duck) to wrap up the match for the tourists.

Jose Mourinho, of course more pradasg, has About Prada Products even less need for priestly mediation in his conversations with the Special One – confronted by any problem, he simply asks: “What would Jose do?” He expounded for his surprisingly large band of disciples the parable of the winner and the loser, minting a phrase that will surely live as long in the English language as any in the King James Bible. “Maybe in the philosophy of a loser this was a great season,” he said of Avram Authentic Authentic Prada Messenger Bag For Sale Prada Outlet Uk Grant’s efforts. “Which I respect.” It can only be weeks before the first recorded usage in a gritty BBC drama: “So, Julie, you have become pregnant at 14 – which I respect.” Or possibly: “You’ve stitched us up good and proper, you worthless scum! Which I respect.”

As Mourinho may possibly find out next season, they worship in a very different tradition on Humberside. As Sky’s commentator Bill Leslie observed, Hull City owed their play-off victory to the supernatural powers of “the fairy godfather Dean Windass, with a wave of that right boot”. Some may find the image of the robust bleach-blond skinhead in sequins, tiara and tutu mildly unsettling, but if that is what the people of Hull want to put on top of their Christmas trees, Britain’s long tradition of religious tolerance demands that we embrace it. Though perhaps not literally, if you don’t mind.

However, Blatter and his band of loyal cardinals Authentic Prada Handbags Uk are not keen on heresy Apertura Outlet Prada Montevarchi (that’s popes for you, isn’t it?). It wouldn’t be altogether surprising if Fifa ruled illegal any appeals for divine help on the field that had not been cleared in advance by its executive committee – whether by means of direct prayer, claims to personal immortality, fairy godfathers, voodoo dolls stuck in the back of the net, contact with the departed or any other means specified or unspecified in subparagraph 17.3.

Then England would be forbidden from ever again going to a World Cup under a manager whose spiritual adviser believes she can build a force field around the goal. Which, as it happens, I respect.


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