SPORTS fans across Britain will be hoping the country’s athletes won’t need spiritual intervention this summer.

But if they do, an Oxford vicar will be at the ready to help them.

Reverend Andrew Wingfield Digby of St Andrew’s Church in Linton Road has been appointed as one of the lead chaplains to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

He is heading the team of 20 international chaplains based in the Olympic Village though he will work mainly with English speakers.

Describing the appointment as “a real privilege” he said: “It is about caring for the athletes as people, and a lot of them are very committed Christian believers.

“This has nothing to do with praying to win.” He added: “I won’t get to see any games. Everyone else will probably see much more of them.

“But it will be extraordinary to see all these athletes in peak condition and minister to some very interesting people.”

Mr Wingfield Digby is a former sportsman himself, having played cricket for Dorset in the 1970s and 80s.

And the organisers approached him because of his experiences as a chaplain at previous Olympic Games.

He served as chaplain to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and was appointed spiritual advisor to the England cricket team in 1989.

He said: “As a former professional sportsman I understand the seriousness and the intensity of the competition.

“It is not like going out to play in the park.

“It is about taking that seriously and being able to relate to people who have such a high degree of intensity about their sport.”

He will be one of 70,000 volunteers and 130 chaplains at the Olympics but doesn’t have any concerns about being away from his regular flock.

“I have got an excellent associate vicar and curate and they will cope admirably without me,” he said.

Having studied theology at university, Mr Wingfield Digby began working for Christians in Sport in the 1980s.