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UEFA requests minute's silence for Pope
April 05, 2005 12:17 IST
A minute's silence will be observed before this week's Champions League and UEFA Cup quarter-finals as a mark of respect for the passing of Pope John Paul at the request of European soccer's governing body.
"Pope John Paul II was a great worldwide leader of people and a firm believer in peace," UEFA's chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson said in a statement on Monday.
"His work and efforts in this area commanded enormous respect and recognition from people all over the world, no matter their religious beliefs or persuasion."
"He led the Roman Catholic Church for a period of 26 years during a time of great change and upheaval in the world, and he was clearly a very special man," added Olsson.
"His loss will be felt by millions and it is right that we pay our respects appropriately."
The Pontiff, a former goalkeeper, died on Saturday aged 84 in his Vatican bed after a long struggle with ill health.
The minute's silence will be observed before the Champions League ties on Tuesday and Wednesday and again before Thursday's UEFA Cup matches.
Soccer's world governing body FIFA also paid tribute to "an outstanding advocate of peace and love in the world" and said Pope John Paul was "always a man of good humour".
The Pope received a number of FIFA delegations in the last 15 years, including all the referees before the 1990 World Cup in Italy and the FIFA and Italian All Star teams who played in the Italian Football Federation's 1998 centennial celebrations.
"Always an impressive person, the world will miss the presence of his holiness and we share our condolences with all the people who have been touched by his life," FIFA said in a statement issued on its official website.