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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 13:34 GMT
Church plans for World Cup final
Members of the General Synod
Members of the General Synod will be allowed to watch the match
England's attempts to win the football World Cup next summer have caught the attention of those close to God.

The General Synod, the Church of England's national assembly, has noticed its summer meeting in York clashes with the final on 9 July.

Plans are being made to enable members to watch if England make the final.

Debates could halt or the match may be recorded for members to view later, but a spokesman said no prophecy was being made about England reaching the final.

A spokesman said church officials would be following England's progress in the tournament, in the need to identify with popular culture.

40 years in wilderness

He said: "It would be a very significant event in the nation if England was in the final."

The clash between the final and the meeting was discussed at the inauguration of the new synod in London on Wednesday.

Officials were asked to make sure facilities to watch the match would be in place at York University, where the synod is due to meet from 7 to 11 July.

The spokesman said the synod's discussions would not necessarily be brought to a halt and that the football could be recorded and shown to members when their debates were concluded.

David Williams, clerk to the synod, spoke to members about the similarities between England waiting 40 years to win the World Cup - the team's only previous success coming in 1966 - and the Israelites spending 40 years wandering in the wilderness.

The spokesman said Mr Williams' comments had been light-hearted but that "sensible contingency plans" were being made.

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