Vatican City, as the world's smallest independent state, does not typically participate in international sporting events or competitions as a separate entity.
It does not have its own national sports teams or athletes representing the Vatican in major events like the Olympics or FIFA World Cup. However, the Vatican does promote and support sports within its community, and has taken part in some smaller international events like the Mediterranean Games.
Before The Vatican will be able to participate in the Olympic Games, they will need to set up a National Olympic Committee, and also secure membership to International Federations such as World Athletics.
The Vatican has its own sports association called "Athletica Vaticana" or Vatican Athletics, which is recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee. Vatican Athletics consists of priests, seminarians, guards, and other members of the Vatican community who participate in friendly matches, running events, and various sports activities. Their participation is often symbolic and represents the Vatican's support for the positive values of sports, such as unity, fair play, and healthy competition.
The Vatican occasionally hosts sporting events and friendly matches within its territory. These events are often organized to promote dialogue, peace, and solidarity among different religious communities or to raise awareness for charitable causes.
There is a representative men's and woman's Vatican football (soccer) team that play friendly matches and in unofficial tournaments. The Vatican City Championship is a local football tournament comprising teamsd of employees, from which the representative teams are selected. The Vatican City national football team played its first match in 1985, a 3–0 victory against a team of Austrian journalists.
While the Vatican City's involvement in international sporting events is limited, it emphasizes on the importance of sportsmanship and the positive role of sports within its community.
The sporting associations of the Vatican is made up of priests, nuns, seminarians, Swiss guards, staff and other members of the Vatican community
Popular sports and activities of The Vatican
- Athletics, soccer, taekwondo, cricket
The Vatican Sporting Success
- The first podium finish of Vatican Athletics was in the Messina Marathon. A silver medal was won by. Don Vincenzo Puccio, a Sicilian priest.
The Vatican City Sports Trivia
- Champion Italian cyclist Gino Barteli was a very religious man and made his devotions public. In return, he became The Vatican’s favorite sportsman and was personally blessed by three popes.
- Vatican Athletics, officially Athletica Vaticana in Latin, is the Vatican's first official sports team.
- The International Cycling Union was the first Olympic sports federation to admit Vatican Athletics to its ranks in 2021. Not long after, the Vatican taekwondo association became a member of World Taekwondo.
- Pope John Paul II was reportedly a soccer goalkeeper in his youth in Poland.
The Vatican City at major events
- In 2022, one athlete represented the Vatican City at the Mediterranean Games in Algeria, though in a non-scoring manner.
- A team representing the Vatican was invited to compete in the Games of the Small States of Europe in 2019 under observer status. They were granted official status for the 2021 Games, though that event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sporting Facilities in The Vatican
The Vatican Athletic Center, located within the Vatican City, is a small facility equipped with a jogging track and sports equipment for the use of Vatican residents. It is primarily intended for the physical fitness needs of residents and staff. The sporting facilities of Rome are also nearby and readily available if needed.