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Divine Intervention: Russia's Failing Football Squad Needs Team Priest, Says Monk

Russia’s embattled football team require a resident priest on call to hear players' confessions, Russia's former Olympic chaplain has claimed.

Abbot Sylvester, a monk who served as chaplain to Russia’s Olympic squad during London's 2012 Olympic Games, said that devout players could receive answers from a priest on matters of the conscience, the soul, and good and evil that neither coaches nor psychologists could provide, news outlet RIA Novosti reported.

“I think it would be positive if there was a priest [among the football team]. It would be good in any team,” he said. “It would perhaps answer a few questions.”

Russia’s football team has endured a turbulent summer after being knocked out of the European Championships in June without winning a single match. The defeat led to the resignation of coach Leonid Slutsky, while a petition to reform the team with completely new players gathered almost one million signatures.

Two players, Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev also faced a fierce public backlash after being photographed at a lavish party in Monaco just days after the team’s exit from the championship.

The abbot, commenting on the high wages of professional footballers, said that an individual’s relationship to money was more important than the sums involved.

“It’s not good if someone is so attached to money and thinks only of themselves without considering how to use their money correctly," he said.  

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