Vatican cancels women's match after anti-abortion protest

(File)
(File)

Vienna - The Vatican called off a friendly football match involving its new women's team in Vienna over the weekend after several Austrian players protested the church's anti-abortion stance.

The game between the Vatican side founded this year and a Vienna outfit was cancelled Saturday when several Austrians lifted their shirts to reveal pro-choice messages painted on their stomachs and backs when the anthems were played before kick-off, media reports said.

"The game was called off because we are here for the sport, and not for political or other messages", public broadcaster ORF quoted Danilo Zennaro, a representative of the Vatican sports association, as saying.

A player from the Austrian capital's Mariahilf women's team said they hadn't expected the protest action to lead to the game to be scrapped.

The Vatican's Vienna representative could not immediately be reached on Sunday for comment.

The Vatican women's team was formed earlier this year, more than three decades after the men's side.

Austrian media said the Vienna clash was supposed to be the Vatican women's first international tie.

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 7722 votes
Cricket
11% - 1954 votes
Football
19% - 3525 votes
Athletics
3% - 462 votes
Boxing
1% - 169 votes
Cycling
2% - 437 votes
Golf
5% - 903 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1528 votes
Tennis
3% - 606 votes
Water sports
1% - 167 votes
American sports
1% - 216 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 566 votes
Vote