Friday, October 03, 2014

2014 Homeless World Cup - the countdown

Time to turn the Scottish Football Blog over to a good cause.

As Hibs don't yet qualify as a charity, I'm sending my annual greetings to the Homeless World Cup.

This year's tournament - beating homelessness through football - will take place in Chile and kicks off in just over a fortnight, on 19th October.

Regular readers will know the drill. If you don't here it is:

  • The Homeless World Cup uses football to help people change their lives
  • It works with 70 partners around the world, supporting grassroots football programmes
  • The annual Homeless World Cup tournament celebrates that work by uniting teams of homeless people from around the world

69 teams from 43 countries will compete in Santiago this month.

They're expected to play in front of 100,000 spectators over the course of the week.

Every player will meet at least one of the eligibility rules:

  • Have been homeless at some point after 1/10/13 in accordance to the national definition of homelessness
  • Make their main living income as street paper vendor
  • Asylum seekers currently without positive asylum status or who were previously asylum seekers but obtained residency status after 01/10/2013
  • Currently in drug or alcohol rehabilitation and also have been homeless at some point in the past two years

The players making up the eight members of each national squad are ambassadors - representing the thousands of other players who are working with their national Homeless World Cup organisations each week throughout the year.

And lives will be changed.

David Duke played for Scotland at the 2004 Homeless World Cup in Gothenburg. Today he runs Street Soccer Scotland, using football to help thousands of homeless people here:

"The Homeless World Cup was the rope that allowed me to pull myself out of a very dark hole. It helped me and now I can help others. When homeless people say to me I can't change, I say yes you can. I did. So can you."

Patrick Mbeu played for France in the 2007 Homeless World Cup in Copenhagen. In 2011 he was part of the organising for the Homeless World Cup in Paris and work as a coach with PSG:

"My participation in the Homeless World Cup brought about a profound personal change. It allowed me to regain my self-respect to take important steps in my life and I was also able to regain a high standard of play in my game."

Two stories. Two of thousands. Not everyone who has benefited from the Homeless World Cup will have a story as a spectacular but all will be as important.

Finding work, rebuilding family relationships, beating addictions. The same stories repeated thousands and thousands of times.

Thanks to football.

Follow the 2014 Homeless World Cup

I'll be following the 2014 Homeless World Cup on this blog and on Twitter.

You can find out more about the tournament and the Homeless World Cup's global impact on their website.

And, if you can afford to, you can also make a donation to support the Homeless World Cup this year and for many more years to come.

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