– Derek Allen, Attorney –

The World Cup is in full bloom and like anything that involves lots of money and national pride, it’s going to generate its share of lawsuits (or threatened lawsuits). My favorite so far finds the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro threatening a copyright suit against Italian broadcaster Rai Italia for daring to put an Italy jersey on Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue in one of its commercials.

According to the president of the Vatican’s sports organization, the archdiocese has a right to be mad because “we live in a world that has put God on the bench” and this commercial is a part of that problem. Um, what? Apparently becoming president of the Vatican’s sports organization doesn’t require much soccer knowledge because it seems pretty clear to me that Christ the Redeemer isn’t riding the pine for Italy in this commercial. He’s sporting the classic number 10 jersey, which any soccer fan knows is usually reserved for the premier playmaker on any team.  Historical greats to wear the number include Wayne Rooney, Eusebio, Roberto Baggio, Johann Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, and Pele.  Perhaps the best American player ever, Landon Donovan, also wore number 10 for our national team.

So far from putting God on the bench, it looks like Rai Italia put him in the starting lineup for Italy (perhaps taking over the playmaker role from the ageless Andrea Pirlo?).  On top of that, judging by his use of the airplane goal celebration, it looks like the Redeemer put one in the back of the net for the Azzurri.

Now, I obviously don’t know anything about Brazilian copyright law, but I’m fully prepared to say that my expert analysis of the situation means that the archdiocese has no case against Rai Italia.  And based on the lack of a lawsuit being filed, I’m also going to assume that the archdiocese came to the same conclusion.