The Homeless World Cup 2019 will take place in Cardiff (July 27 – August 3), when the Welsh capital’s iconic Bute Park will host what is the 17th edition of the tournament.
51 countries from around the world will be represented, with the men’s/mixed competition comprising 48 teams and the women’s competition 16 teams.
The History of the Homeless World Cup
The first Homeless World Cup took place in 2003 and it was inspired by Harald Schmied and Me Young who co-founded the Homeless World Cup Organization two-years earlier.
The first city to host the Homeless World Cup was Graz in Austria. Subsequent editions have been held in Gothenburg, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Melbourne, Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Mexico City, Poznan, Santiago, Amsterdam, Glasgow, and Mexico City.
The winners of these events were Austria, Italy, Italy, Russia, Scotland, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Brazil, Scotland, Chile, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Mexico, Brazil, and Mexico.
The Tournament Format
Eligible players may be male or female but must be aged 16+ and must have been homeless for all or part of the period after the finish of the previous year’s Homeless World Cup. They are also not allowed to have taken part in a previous Homeless World Cup.
Matches take place on pitches measuring 22 x 16 metres. Teams consist of four players, which are one goalkeeper and three outfield players. Squads consist of eight players, with rolling substitutions in place throughout all matches.
Games are 14 minutes long and are split into two seven-minute halves. The winners receive three points and the loser nil points. However, if the match is a draw at full-time, it is decided by a sudden-death penalty shootout. Following this scenario, the winner then gets two points and the loser one point.
Teams Taking Part
The countries taking part in the men’s/mixed tournament are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States of America, Wales, and Zimbabwe.
The countries taking part in the Women’s Homeless World Cup are Austria, Belgium, Chile, England, Hungary, England, Malawi, Mexico, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Peru, Romania, Sweden, United States of American, and Wales.
The Mission of the Homeless World Cup
The Homeless World Cup is a charitable foundation whose ultimate goal is to create a world without homelessness. Its current mission is to use football to inspire homeless people to make significant changes to their lives.
The United Nations says there are over 100 homeless people in the world, but the actual number of people without adequate housing is nearer to 1 Billion.
To try and rectify this problem, the Homeless World Cup Foundation supports 73 world projects that “utilise football as a tool for social change”.
How the Tournament Helps Homeless People
Being homeless tends to force people into being isolated, which harmfully affects their ability to work with others, communicate, and share.
By getting involved with football, a homeless person can build healthy relationships with teammates and they have an opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves. They also have a focus and a responsibility to turn up to matches and training sessions.
Welsh Actor Michael Sheen is the man who led Cardiff’s bid to host the 2019 Homeless World Cup. The aim of hosting the tournament is to create a legacy in the Welsh Capital that will change how homeless people are perceived.
A lot of local institutions have partnered with the event to show their support including FA Wales, Cardiff City Council, Cardiff City FC, Cardiff University, Working Word, Pobl Group, PYST, Green Man Festival, and Street Football Wales.
How You Can Help
If you want to help the homeless through the 2019 Homeless World Cup in Cardiff, there are several ways you can get involved.
You can simply help spread the word by following the foundation and sharing news on social media. You can also donate money in the form of a one-off gift or a regular monthly amount.
On a bigger scale, you can create your own fundraiser. It doesn’t have to be a football event. For example, it could also be a sponsored swim, run, walk, or bike ride or even a bake sale.
If you don’t know what to get for your birthday this year, why not ask your friends and family to make donations on your behalf instead of buying you a present.
You could even get your boss on board (I did!) by asking the company you work for to host a fundraising event or raffle. Your boss may even want the company to become an official partner of the Homeless World Cup.
Whatever level your interest please spare whatever change you can and donate at https://donate.homelessworldcup.org/gb-en and PLEASE do help to spread the word by passing this blog to your friends, family, colleagues, and share on your social media channels too.