The Vatican City national football team (Italian: Selezione di calcio della Città del Vaticano) is the football team that represents Vatican City. The Vatican City football association was founded in 1972. Its current president is Domenico Ruggerio. Gianfranco Guadagnoli, an Italian, is the current head coach. The team has been managed by Giovanni Trapattoni in the past. His first match as manager was played on 23 October 2010 when Vatican City faced a team composed of Italian financial police.
In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II established a Vatican sports department with the aim of "reinvigorating the tradition (of sport) within the Christian community". In 2006, Vatican Secretary of StateCardinalTarcisio Bertone suggested that the Vatican could field a team of men from Catholic seminaries. About the prospect, the cardinal stated, "If we just take the Brazilian students from our Pontifical universities we could have a magnificent squad." The cardinal also noted that in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, there were 42 players in the final round who attended Salesian training centres worldwide. For example, Marcelino, Spanish hero of the 1964 European Nations' Cup was a former seminarian. It was Bertone's proposal that the Vatican's players, even if accepted by UEFA, would be drawn from the population within the Catholic Church worldwide, not just citizens of Vatican City. He was unclear at the time whether the Vatican would grant these players Vatican citizenship to make this possible.
With the smallest population of any nation, approximately 900, it is difficult to form a squad. The Vatican City squad consists entirely of employees of the Vatican: police officers, postal workers, government officials and members of the Swiss Guard, the Vatican’s de facto army, charged with protecting the pope. Since most Vatican citizens are members of the Swiss Guard, they cannot be amassed in large numbers for a long time. Therefore, the national team has played only a few rare international matches, often drawing a fair amount of interested press. When Vatican City played its first match in 2002, only one player, Marcello Rosatti, had a Vatican passport. In 2006, Vatican City was invited to participate in the Viva World Cup by the N.F.-Board and were expected to participate but were unable to participate because they were unable to assemble a 15-man roster. In total, Vatican City have played only four full international matches against other nations, one draw and three defeats to Monaco in 2002, 2011, 2013, and 2014 respectively.
In addition to its full international matches, the team has played a friendly match, its first, against the San Marino reserve team in 1994. The final score of that match is believed to be a 0–0 draw but Steve Menary’s book ‘Outcasts: The Lands that FIFA Forgot’ states that Vatican insiders told him that the match ended 1–1. In 2010, the Vatican organized a team to play a friendly game against Palestine. However, the team was made up of Catholic priests and was not considered the Vatican City national team. In 2006, the Vatican City played SV Vollmond, a team from Switzerland, at Stadio Petriana with Vatican City prevailing 5–1.
The Vatican has typically expressed strong support for football. Pope John Paul II was reportedly a goalkeeper in his youth in Poland, and an ardent supporter of Cracovia Kraków. The former German pope Pope Benedict XVI is an ardent supporter of FC Bayern München since his youth growing up in Bavaria, Germany. Pope Benedict XVI is quoted as saying, "The sport of football can be a vehicle of education for the values of honesty, solidarity and fraternity, especially for the younger generation." In October 2007, the Pope was presented with a #16 shirt (for Pope Benedict XVI) by A.C. Ancona of the Italian Serie B after Pope Benedict XVI supported their initiative to become a "beacon of morality" by adopting an "innovative, ethical model of practising football". In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican reaffirmed their belief that football should be a beacon of morality by lashing out at Serie A after matches for the upcoming season were scheduled at 12:30pm on Sundays to appease pay-per-view companies wishing to spread out Serie A matches over the weekend. The Vatican previously questioned the league's decision to play matches on Sundays at all, but "I consider this a truly harmful development," Monsignor Carlo Mazza told Tuttosport. "Putting people in front of the television screen at 12.30 CET , when they are having lunch with their families, to me seems like a 'pitch invasion' on life." Additionally, on 18 December 2006, Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See, stated, but only in jest, that he did not preclude the possibility that the Vatican, in the future, could put together a football team of great value, that could play on the same level as, Roma, Internazionale and Milan or Genoa, the current Argentinian pope, Pope Francis is an ardent fan of hometown Argentine FC San Lorenzo, and exhibited disappointment when Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final against Germany.
They are one of only nine fully recognized sovereign states whose national team is not a FIFA member. The others are the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu and the United Kingdom. In May 2014, Domenico Ruggerio, president of the FA, stated that “I prefer to be amateur...To join FIFA, at that level, will be like a business” after stating "The important message of friendship and love is demonstrated by the sport — the real sport, not the business that is in football these days...It is not just important to win a match; it is how you carry yourself." Therefore that, he added, meant that "the ethos of the Vatican’s soccer team was, at odds with FIFA membership."