Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL) and EuroRoma 2024 Foundation President Stefano Mei attended a private audience at the Vatican to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Athletica Vaticana – Athletics Vatican – sports club on Saturday (13).
During the ceremony for what is often described as the Holy See’s first sports club, which is also affiliated with FIDAL, Mei presented Pope Francis with a Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships T-shirt.
“I told Pope Francis that would be a great honour to welcome him to the Olympic Stadium for the Championships,” said Mei, who was the 1986 European 10,000m champion.
Mei also presented the Pope with another gift: a reproduction of the European Athletics Team Championships trophy won for the first time by the Italy in Silesia last June.

In the Apostolic Palace’s historic Clementine Hall in the Vatican, Pope Francis welcomed of Athletica Vaticana’s athletes, coaches, administrators, and their families, and commented on his, “joy for the presence of Athletica Vaticana on the streets, tracks and playing fields.”
Pope Francis added that, “it is significant that our meeting takes place in the first days of 2024, which is the Olympic and Paralympic Year. Thinking back to the value of the Olympic Truce’, my hope is that in the particularly dark historical moment that we are living, sport can build bridges, break down barriers, foster relations of peace.”
‘We identify perfectly with the Pope’s words on the values of sport. Athletics is the most global discipline that exists and is able to unite people, even in their diversity,” added Mei.