Rev. Sun Myung Moon sets up soccer team in Brazil

Reuters, Feb 1, 2000

SAO PAULO, Feb 1, 2000 (Reuters) - After spending millions of dollars to create a new community in Brazilian swampland, South Korean religious leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon has made another investment in Brazil -- a soccer team.

The leader of the Unification Church, who is building a closed-door community for his followers on the fringes of Brazil's Pantanal marshes, has set up the ``New Hope'' team, including five star players from a Mato Grosso do Sul state team Ubiratan, soccer officials said.

The team, formally called Centro Esportivo Nova Esperanca (Cene), takes its name after Moon's community in Mato Grosso do Sul -- ``Nova Esperanca (New Hope) - East Garden.''

The team should be approved by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in March, a spokesman for the state's soccer federation said.

``New teams are always welcome, as well as new sponsors,'' the spokesman said, who added Moon had a professional soccer team in South Korea.

The 80-year-old Moon spent $30 million in the last five years to buy 138,000 acres (56,000 hectares) in Brazil's south to build New Hope.

The millionaire, who was briefly jailed in the United States in the 1970s for tax evasion, owns a newspaper in Washington, D.C., a New York travel agency and an Alaskan seafood canning business.

His varied investments in South America include a bank, hotel and newspaper network in Uruguay.

Moon's followers in Brazil said the leader talked about building a giant soccer stadium in New Hope, where he could give his famous mass weddings.

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