You are listening to a program from BBC Radio 4. Good morning. Twenty years ago football came home in Euro 96, and in the coming weeks, even fifty years of hurt will not stop me dreaming that Wayne Rooney lifts the Henri Delaunay Cup in winning the European Championship. But behind what has become a media and financial juggernaut, is a story of faith and hope. While England may claim to the home of football, European and world championships have their origin in France - through Henri Delaunay and his predecessor as President of the French Football Federation, Jules Rimet. They were the architects of both the World Cup and the European Football Championship and represented a morality very different to recent reports of FIFA secret bonuses. For Rimet in particular, football was an outworking of his faith. Inspired by catholic social teaching he took the view that sport was important to God and to the future shaping of society. In his twenties, he founded a sports club, which was distinct for two reasons. First it opposed the view that sport was the preserve of gentleman and amateurs and so his club did not discriminate on race or class. Second, it included football which at the time the French looked down upon as only for thugs, professionals and Englishmen. He believed that football could positively channel nationalism, provide healing and relieve the moral and physical suffering of the poor - but only if it was accessible to all social classes. His dream was that football would spread the Christian virtues of hard work, honesty, comradeship and fair play. This dream was not easy to achieve and had to be worked out within the harsh political realities which were costly to Rimet's time, energy and reputation. His example is a reminder of the way that faith at its best can be inspiring rather than oppressive. Further it is about the attempt to change the world for good, rather than just a privatized comfort blanket. Indeed, in the last couple of days, within the eulogies to Muhammad Ali's greatness and human weaknesses, there is a story of faith which was foundational to the man who in the words of President Obama 'fought for what was right.... and spoke out when others wouldn't'. Sport is a key part of human experience and community and I see it as a gift from God. Its commercialization on the world stage is inevitable, and it is open to all kinds of abuse but it still has the potential to unite us and give us glorious pictures of what humanity can achieve. Whatever England does in the coming weeks, for me in the words of the song 'Jules Rimet will still be gleaming.'