The Homeless World Cup is on in Glasgow and we are getting to the business end of proceedings.
The Homeless World Cup is a unique, pioneering social movement which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their own lives. We operate through a network of more than 70 National Partners to support football programmes and social enterprise development. We provide a focus for—and celebration of—their year-round activities by organising and delivering an annual, world-class, international football tournament for national teams of homeless men and women that takes place in a different city every year.
The Homeless World Cup is the highlight of the year for our National Partners and provides an aspirational goal for players. The experience is transformational for both participants and members of the audience and challenges attitudes towards homelessness. Players represent their country in front of a supportive audience when previously they were alienated from mainstream society. They are given the opportunity to travel as well as meet people who have faced similar challenges. The tournament is designed to be competitive, but its special structure and emphasis on fair play mean that everyone plays until the last day. There are several levels of competition and trophies to win, providing a sense of achievement for teams of all skill levels.
The Homeless World Cup also challenges societal attitudes towards homeless people. Research by La Trobe University has shown that it significantly impacts attitudes towards homeless people for the better among members of the audience.
Today there are three streams to choose from as we go to press
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Stream One has a line up that includes these matches:
South Korea v Slovenia (M)
Czech Republic v Greece (M)
Argentina v Wales (W)
Greece v Ivory Coast (W)
Namibia v Northern Ireland (M)
Ireland v Lithuania (M)
Denmark v Egypt (M)
South Africa (M)
Mexico v England (W)
Scotland v Netherlands (W)
Bosnia v Chile (M)
Hungary v Russia (M)
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Stream Two includes these matches:
Australia v USA (M)
Switzerland v Sweden (M)
Netherlands v Cambodia (M)
Austria v Ivory Coast (M)
Poland v India (M)
Street Soccer United v Italy (M)
Romania v England (M)
Bulgaria v Scotland (M)
Kyrgyzstan v India (W)
Chile v USA (W)
Portugal v Brazil (M)
Mexico v Indonesia (M)
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Stream Two includes these matches:
Grenada v Belgium (M)
Germany v Wales (M)
Zimbabwe v Norway (M)
Finland v Hong Kong (M)
The Homeless World Cup was co-founded by Mel Young and Harald Schmied, who came up with the idea following a conference about homelessness in 2001. They wanted to change the lives of homeless people all over the world, and they believed football could help them do it. The first Homeless World Cup tournament took place in Graz in 2003, and the event and network has been growing steadily ever since, occupying a pioneering role in the field of Sport and Development.
Homelessness forces people into isolation, which affects their ability to share, communicate their thoughts, and work with others. When a homeless person gets involved in football, they build relationships and become teammates who learn to trust and share. They have a responsibility to attend training sessions and games, to be on time, and to be prepared to participate. They feel that they are part of something larger than themselves. The sense of empowerment that comes from participating in street football helps homeless people see that they can change their lives.
Football also improves other aspects of a homeless person’s life, such as physical health and self-esteem, and experience has shown that it is an effective way of engaging homeless people who have not responded to other methods of intervention.