Nov. 8--An Anglican bishop has been called in to lift a curse from an English soccer team. Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, led special prayers of blessing on the pitch at Oxford United's new Kassam Stadium, after the team suffered a terrible start to the season.
Fans blamed the club's 13 defeats in 17 games on a curse said to have been placed by Gypsies evicted from the site of the stadium, reported "The Sun." The club got a court order to evict the Gypsies from the land, which they had used to park their caravans on while working in the area.
The newspaper said that the bishop sprinkled holy water and asked God to protect the grounds from evil. A spokesman said that describing the service as an exorcism was "rather loose...it was more of a blessing with prayers...particularly to remove what some people felt was a curse on the ground."
Club chairman Firoz Kassam, after whom the $22-million stadium is named, said: "The whole Gypsy curse thing was a talking point among the fans. Now hopefully [the club] is curse-free and we'll shoot up the table." In their first game after the ceremony, Oxford United held visitors York City to a 2-2 draw.