2005 Peace Cup championship opens in Seoul

An international soccer club tournament with a slogan of world peace kicked off Friday at a Seoul stadium, with hopes the event would ease global concerns about terrorism and racial and sectarian strife. Organizers said the 2005 Peace Cup championship, which features eight clubs from all over the world, is symbolic as it is being played in South Korea, which is facing threats from North Korea.

The Peace Cup is organized by the Sun Moon Soccer Foundation and the Interreligious and International Peace Council, both established by Rev Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church, the founder of News World Communications Inc., which owns United Press International and publishes World Peace Herald.

Seongnam represents the Asian continent, while Tottenham Hotspurs from England's Premier League, PSV Eindhoven of Holland, Olympique Lyon from France and Real Sociedad from Spain are representing Europe. The Americas are represented by Boca Juniors of Argentina and Onse Caldas of Colombia. The Sundowns FC from South Africa represent Africa. The eight clubs compete for the Peace Cup and $2 million.

Some 62,000 spectators cheered the opening competition, clapping in unison for players who were described by organizers as "messengers of peace" who will "deliver peace message through beads of sweat for victory."