by Anton Johan
As one of the biggest and most lucrative sports in the world today, professional football has evolved into an 'entity' where big salaries, big egos, big sponsors and big television broadcasters dominate the proceedings.
Even Italian premier football
division Serie A
is not immune, as a decision by Serie A officials to broadcast certain Sunday matches at the earlier time of 11:30 BST this season has shown, with even the Vatican entering the fray.
The Vatican has never had a problem with the playing and broadcasting of Serie A matches later on Sundays, but the thought that Italian 'family lunchtime' will be interrupted, has raised the blood pressure of the world's richest church.
In response to earlier Serie A Sunday matches, Vatican official Monsignor Carlo Mazza told a reporter, 'I consider this a truly harmful development. Family time is an important institution and we cannot sell it off to other events.'
'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.' But it's not just the Vatican that seems to be upset with the Sunday match times.
According to reports, some regular Italians also feel that showing Serie A games during the most important meal of the day could erode family values. However, of the Italians we spoke to on this issue, most didn't seem bothered.
In fact, some were more bothered about the Vatican's involvement in the issue, an institution that over the years has played a bigger role in eroding family values, and even destroying families, than early Sunday Serie A matches ever could.