Mexico wins Homeless World Cup tournaments

Web mexico winners

Pic: Anita Milas/Homeless World Cup

North American side triumphed in both the men’s and women’s finals

Paul Cardwell's photo

18th July 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

After a week of fantastic crowds and competition Mexico were crowned champions in both the men’s and women’s Homeless World Cup events in Glasgow.

Both sides had emphatic victories in Saturday’s finals with the women defeating Kyrgyzstan 5-0 and the men also recording a five-goal victory over Brazil with a 6-1 win at George Square.

First held in 2003 to raise awareness of homeless issues around the world, the tournament is played by homeless people who represent their country in the same way professional footballers do at international competitions.

Pic: Anita Milas/Homeless World Cup

Pic: Anita Milas/Homeless World Cup

This year saw over 500 players compete for 52 countries with almost 100,000 spectators watching at the temporary football arena created in the city centre.

Organisers said 2 million people watched online with many more watching on television via the STV channels.

Mel Young, co-founder of the Homeless World Cup, said the tournament went exactly as planned: “We promised that George Square would be the most inspiring place on the planet for the duration of this tournament, that so it has been,” he said.

“The people of Glasgow have taken our players to their hearts, and made this such a very special tournament in the history of the Homeless World Cup. Games have been fantastic fun, and our players have received unstinting support.

"As our players head back to their countries, we wish them every success as they look to build on this experience, and create a life they would want for themselves. Rightly, they should stand tall. We can genuinely say: you are all winners.”

Pic: World Cup

Pic: World Cup

Minister for sport Aileen Campbell described the tournament as “fantastic and exciting”.

She added: “It’s been great to see George Square busy every day and is a perfect example of how the power of sport can both transform lives and change perceptions for the better.

“I’m sure the visiting teams and those who have watched will remember the 2016 tournament as a great success and I would like to thank everyone involved in organising it.”

As well as supporting players, the Homeless World Cup also leaves a volunteer legacy behind.

Thanks to a partnership with Glasgow Life and the Big Lottery Fund, 120 volunteers who have experience of homelessness in Scotland will continue to receive training and support to help them build a better future for themselves.

Maureen McGinn from the Big Lottery Fund said:  “The Homeless World Cup has been an incredible success. More than 120 volunteers – all of whom have been affected by homelessness at some point in their lives – have brought warmth and a huge Glasgow welcome to everyone attending.

"Thanks to our partnership with Glasgow Life, the programme of support will continue long after the last match of this Homeless World Cup, giving everyone involved a chance to improve their lives further through culture, sport and learning.”

Next year’s tournament will be held in Oslo.