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Chicago Cardinal backs black church

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, is supporting a predominantly black parish on the city's South Side in its battle to join a mostly white athletic conference.

He said that St Sabina Catholic Church's demands for joining the Southside Catholic Conference are "legitimate and necessary ... to assure respect for all those playing."

Last month, the conference rejected St Sabina's membership application because some parishes were worried about the safety of children travelling to the church for games.

The conference later voted to admit St Sabina, but several coaches said they would forfeit any games played at the church, prompting the Fr Michael Pfleger to pull St Sabina out of the conference.

The league has about 5000 players and sponsors football, basketball, soccer and golf for students in grades five through eight.

Archdiocese of Chicago