Is there room for God on the football pitch?

The cliche may have it that football is the new religion; but a new generation of football players are bringing God back onto the pitch.

Most famously, the Brazilian player, Kaka, has on several occasions celebrated his victories by revealing a T-shirt, which reads "I Belong To Jesus".

Faith can play an important part in a player's life. In African football, traditional belief systems, such as juju, have long been associated with the game. Now new Christian movements are displacing juju in Africa. And everywhere they are showing signs of wanting to play a bigger role in football.

But Fifa, the international regulatory body, would rather religion stayed out of football. They have warned they will not tolerate any expressions of religion, such as those professed by Kaka, on the pitch during this month's World Cup in South Africa.

Fifa argues that football's power to unite could be threatened if it does not remain secular.

Photograph of Kaka copyright Getty Images.

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Sun 20 Jun 2010 10:32 GMT