Homeless World Cup kicking off to record crowds next week

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Photo by Romain Kedochim

​This year's Homeless World Cup will kick off in Oslo on 29 August to improve the lives of homeless players from around the world

21st August 2017 by Georgina Harris 0 Comments

The largest ever Homeless World Cup is set to begin in Oslo on Tuesday 29 August, organised to tackle homelessness.

The eight-day street football tournament is due to attract a worldwide audience of over three million, with 100,000 fans travelling to Oslo for its start next week.

A record number of 72 teams have entered the competition this year from 54 countries across the world.

The Homeless World Cup was co-founded by Mel Young and Harald Schmied as a way of changing the lives of homeless people across the world. 15 years later, 570 homeless men and women will be playing in this year’s tournament.  

The aim of the Homeless World Cup is to use football as a force for good, helping homeless people to transform their lives.

Football can offer many benefits, such as allowing people who are homeless to develop trust and relationships with their teammates, improving their health and wellbeing, and giving them a chance to reconnect with friends and family. 

Juliet Auma

Homeless World Cup kicking off to record crowds next week

Juliet Auma, now 28, was a member of the 2011 Homeless World Cup winning team from Kenya. Her passion for football is helping her to change her family’s future, as well as her own. 

Juliet’s father died when she was only ten and she and her five brothers were separated and moved in with relatives around Nairobi. Her relatives struggled to send them to school, but Juliet’s passion for football earned her a partial scholarship to a boarding school. 

A keen defender, she was invited to try out for the 2011 Kenyan Homeless World Cup squad. 

“We trained for seven months and then we went to France to compete with other countries,” she described. "The year I participated, Kenya won the ladies tournament!”

As a result of last year’s Homeless World Cup in Glasgow, around £10 million in social capital was generated from homeless people gaining employment.

94% of the players said that the event had made a positive impact on their lives, while 84% of spectators said they had a more positive attitude towards homeless people after watching the tournament.

Ryan Mackie, chief executive of the Homeless World Cup Foundation, said: “Homelessness is a global issue which affects millions of people in different ways around the world. But thanks to football’s universal appeal and ability to bring people together, the Homeless World Cup Foundation has been a revelation in being able to break down personal barriers and change many people’s perceptions around homelessness.

“This year’s Homeless World Cup is set to be the biggest and most ambitious yet and will be broadcasted around the world to more than three million people which is unprecedented for this type of tournament.”

Homeless World Cup ambassador, actor Colin Farrell, said: “The Homeless World Cup is about your head being up, it's about no apologies and, at the end of the day, it is about coming together through competition.”

Scott Brown, captain of Celtic FC and the Scottish national football team, said: “The Homeless World Cup transforms lives through football. With your support it can help even more people all over the world.”

All matches are four-a-side with four rolling substitutions allowed and they last 14 minutes, split into two halves.

There will be eight groups of six teams in the men’s competition and four groups of six teams in the women’s.

The Oslo 2017 Homeless World Cup will kick off on Tuesday 29 August at 2.30pm UK time with a match between Norway and Chile.

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