PtG Article 09.05.2006

Homeless World Cup 2007 to Copenhagen

Denmark has won the bid to host the 2007 Homeless World Cup, the annual street soccer tournament which unites teams of homeless people from all over the world to kick off poverty Teams from 48 countries are expected to take part in the tournament in Copenhagen in July next year.

The idea behind the Homeless World Cup is provide players with sense of belonging and an opportunity to regain their health and self esteem. It works. According to Homeless World Cup’s own press release, over 77 per cent of players change their lives forever by participating. 

”They move forwards to find regular employment, come off drugs and alcohol, pursue education, improve their housing, and even play for semi-professional and professional football clubs,” the statement reads.     The tournament in Denmark will take place in the capital Copenhagen and a big stadium will be erected on the square directly in front of the City Hall. This will help the Homeless World Cup in achieving another aim - namely that of changing the attitude of the public towards homeless people who are suddenly cast in the role of heroes. 

Denmark fought off Germany, Italy and Poland for the cup, and the success can be ascribed to the fact that street football for the homeless is well established in Denmark which has already hosted three national championships.  Also, the Homeless World Cup receives considerable financial support from the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs and the City of Copenhagen.

The Homeless World Cup has previously been held in Austria 2003, Sweden 2004 and Edinburgh 2005. This year’s event will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, in the last week of September.

Statistics about success

Research carried out amongst 204 players involved in the 2004 Homeless World Cup shows:   More than 90 per cent said it had a positive impact on their lives 
74 per cent made significant changes in their lives 
38 per cent found regular employment 
46 per cent improved their housing situation 
34 per cent have pursued education 
27 per cent have addressed their drug dependency 
72 per cent continue to play football after Homeless World Cup 
16 players have been signed professionally or semi-professionally in a playing or coaching capacity by football clubs.