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John Stillwell/PA Wire
World News

CofE prayer calls for "humility in victory, and dignity in defeat" in Euro 2016

by Hannah Tooley

It asks that teams be "ambassadors for their sport" and calls for "humility in victory, and dignity in defeat".

The prayer reminds players that "the game isn't everything" and prays for fans to "remain open to friendship" alongside their passion for success.

The prayer:

"God our Father, thank you for all your gifts to us, and especially the beautiful game.
"We pray for the teams that in the heat of competition they may be ambassadors for their sport.
"We pray for the players that as they give everything to their cause they remember the game isn't everything, win, lose or draw.
"We pray for the officials for wisdom and clarity, for there to be a respect for authority even in fallibility.
"We pray for the fans that in sharing their passion they remain open to friendship.
"We pray for humility in victory, and dignity in defeat.
"Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Speaking about the football competition, Revd Canon Debbie Flach, from Christ Church Lille in Lillie, told Premier how France is feeling.

She said: "The atmosphere is one of ongoing concern because of the terrorist attacks - either up the road of down the road - Brussels is only half an hour on the train and Paris is an hour on the train, and we've very much felt in the middle of both those terrorist attacks."

She went on: "Nobody's walking around really anxious, they were after the attacks, yes of course we all were because they were so random and so mindless.

"But there's a general apprehension simply because this is a great occasion for people gathering together."

When asked who she would be supporting Revd Canon Debbie Flach said: "Oh dear that's a difficult question - I always start with supporting England until something unpleasant happens and they go out - then I turn my affections to France."

England are among the first of the 24 teams in action, taking on Russia in Group B on Saturday, 24 hours after France open the tournament against Romania.

Wales also play on Saturday, against Slovakia, while Northern Ireland take on Poland the following evening.

John Stillwell/PA Wire

Bishop Tony Porter, the Archbishops' Sport Ambassador and Bishop of Sherwood, is behind the prayer.

He said: "As church and sport unite in prayer, I hope the Euros will be a vehicle for unity, fun and peace.

"Sport has the capacity to bring people together from all backgrounds, cultures and countries. The Euros have the potential to focus on a gift that can unite and enthuse us.

"Do I want England to win? I would love it. Do I think they will win? Not until we see more English players in the Premier League."

A platform at London's St Pancras station has turfed and turned into a football pitch, complete with a goal, so that fans can take their pictures before boarding Eurostar trains to France to watch games during the Euro 2016 tournament.

On Sunday, the Church of England will broadcast from St Andrew's Moscow - its first ever live service from overseas on Church Live.

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Revd Canon Debbie Flach here:

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