Many people accused the Irish government and segments of the media of “living in the past” given the amount of respect and coverage that was given to the papal visit recently.
However, this pales in comparison compared to the the Italian FA as they have suspended Udinese midfielder Rolando Mandragora for using “blasphemous expressions” during a Serie A clash with Sampdoria.
The incident occurred after the 21-year-old was denied by Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Eudero, and the Udinese midfielder has now picled up a one match ban.
While the incident was not seen by the referee, television cameras picked up Mandragora – who has one Italian cap – shouting “Porca Madonna – Dio Cane”, which which is an insult to to the Virgin Mary.
He also called referred to god as a “dog”.
“After acquiring and examining the relevant television images, the player, while cursing without referring to anybody around him, was nevertheless clearly seen by the television images to make blasphemous remarks, visibly identifiable from reading his lips without any margin for reasonable doubt,” a Lega Serie A report read.
This is not the first time a player has got into trouble as a result of the somewhat archaic rules.
In 2010, Italian lip readers spotted the now former Italian and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon shout “Dio” which means God in Italian for which he was subsequently punished.
In Italy blasphemy is taken very seriously, as former Chievo coach Domenico Di Carlon and Parma player Davide Lanzafame were also punished under the rules, which were introduced as recently as 2010.
Football is not the only aspect of Italian life that takes religious slurs seriously, as in 2011, three contestants of Italian Big Brother were booted off the show for blasphemy.
Italian rugby captain Sergio Parisse had to apologise after uttering a blasphemous phrase ahead of a Six Nations clash against France two years ago.