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Thursday, 3 February, 2000, 08:13 GMT
Moonies aim to score with Brazilians

brazil swampland A religious community has been established on the edge of swampland


By Brazil correspondent Stephen Cviic

The head of South Korea's Unification Church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, has decided to set up his own professional football team in Brazil.

The team, which still needs to be approved by the Football Confederation, will be based in the south-west of the country where Reverend Moon has already invested millions of dollars.

Reverend Moon is clearly determined to expand the range of his activities in Brazil.


moon The religious leader has called his team "New Hope"
Over the past five years, he has spent $30m on a closed religious community on the edge of the Pantanal swampland.

He is also trying to attract international funding for programmes designed to protect the local environment and, finding himself in the country which has won the World Cup four times, he has been unable to resist the temptation to move into football as well.

The team is called "New Hope", the same name as the religious community, and assuming it wins approval from the football authorities, it appears to stand a reasonable chance of success.


mass wedding Rev Moon wants to build a stadium for football and mass weddings
The early opposition will not be strong. The team is based in the south-western state of Mato Grosso Do Sul and playing in the state league, it will not have to face the big clubs of Sao Paulo and Rio Janeiro.

Until last year, the local champions were a team called Ubiratan but they too will be weakened since the Reverend Moon has already hired five of their star players.

Followers of the millionaire religious leader say he has talked about building a giant stadium in the New Hope community which could be used for football and for his famous mass weddings.

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See also:
15 Aug 99 |  Americas
Moonies make 'heaven on earth'
07 Feb 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Thousands wed in global event
07 Feb 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Moonies wed on the Net

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