Church scraps 'Peace Cup' tournament
The Unification Church said on Monday it was scrapping – following the death of founder Sun Myung Moon – a loss-making football tournament that has drawn giants like Real Madrid and Juventus in the past.
The "Peace Cup" has been held every two years since its inception in 2003 – with Moon's home country of South Korea playing host to each event, except for the 2009 edition which was held in Spain.
Church spokesman Ahn Ho-Yeol told AFP the decision to discontinue the tournament was in line with the church's efforts "to focus on its internal stability and missionary work".
The Unification Church – famed for its massed weddings – was founded by Moon in 1954 and grew into a global religious movement that claims three million members worldwide.
But questions have been raised over its future in the wake of Moon's death in September at the age of 92.
Without Moon's unifying presence, some experts see potential for conflict between his sons who control the church's religious and business arms and who do not command the same loyalty as their father.
The Peace Cup was seen by many top club teams, mostly from Europe, as a useful warm-up for the regular season. Previous winners include Hamburg, Aston Villa and PSV Eindhoven.