Homeless World Cup

Intrigued to find out more? Click here for the official Homeless World Cup website.

5 a side Competition

Fundraising 5 a side competition was held on 12 August and raised over £650. A full report on the evening's activities is online now. Click here to read it. Photos are also available to view - Click here to see them.

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Every pound you give will go towards changing people's lives and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

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Quick Note

Just a quick note to prevent any confusion: I'm not associated with, nor am I trying to pass myself off as, World Cup Willie, the 1966 World Cup Mascot. He's much more popular and handsome than I could ever be. If you want to find out more about him click here

So, finally, I made it. After delays at work this week, and with my wedding just a week away (yes, I was allowed out!), I got to Paris on Friday, just for the day, to drop in on old friends from Rio and see what new developments there were this year. Unfortunately after just a few photos my camera gave up (shutter seems to be jammed), so I’ve had to borrow pictures from elsewhere on the net (I’d like to credit the photographers, but I haven’t a clue who actually took them!).

This year’s event was at a fantastic venue in the gardens around the Eiffel Tower – take a look at the pics below to see how close the pitches were to the tower. The tournament has expanded again this year so they’ve had to build an extra pitch – that’s 3 in total, so 392 games can be played in just 1 week.

Every game has been online this year too, so you can even watch it from the comfort of your desk/office/armchair* (*delete as appropriate).

The odd character from Rio turned up too, most notably Arezki, from France. He was a player last year having recently been homeless, but he now finds himself running the French team from its inception this year, through training and tournament preparation, to the real event … in his home country. Great story from a top guy!

Global ambassadors continue to grow too, this year with Emmanuel Petit taking up the position of chief ambassador for this year’s event. Although such a star (World Cup winner!) he was happy to pose for as many photos and sign as many autographs as people wanted – a true gentleman – and even I was lucky enough to get to meet him momentarily. And … Arsene Wenger is the President of the organising committee!

Closer to home, the England team set up will develop a new future soon under the guidance of Gareth Parker, who is heading up the England Homeless FA. The aim is to build a stronger network around England with the foundations already put in place by various organisations running street soccer projects and ultimately give greater opportunity for people to change their lives through football. He’s even whispered to me that next year they’re hoping to enter the first England women’s team!

Not quite as close to home, but just over the border … I ought to mention that the Scottish men won the big trophy and Kenya won the women’s trophy. Well done to them and well done all.

I must say there were great scenes around the park too, as players from all around the world embraced, physically and emotionally. I know I do bang on about it, but football really does have a great strength to bring people together and build them up. I saw lots of it last year in Rio (it was quite brilliant!) and this year there seems to be a whole lot more.

Long live The Homeless World Cup.

For the first time ever The Homeless World Cup will be showing its matches live online. Take a peek if you get the chance: http://www.homelessworldcup.org/watch

Matches will be on during the day from Sunday 21st to Sunday 28th August.

The Homeless World Cup Paris 2011 kicks off tomorrow! This year there will be 64 teams from all over the world, including more than ever in the women’s tournament. The venue is Champs de Mars – the garden right next to the Eiffel Tower!

I’m hoping to pop along later in the week to see the action and will bring back some news and pics.

I’ve been a busy boy today, running around outside Wembley Stadium taking snaps of the Kinetic 5s fundraising event. Funds generated from this event go into the bursary fund to assist some nations in getting their team to the 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris. It’s not often I get to spend a whole day with my camera, so I really enjoyed my time behind the lens. I’m still very much an amateur, but here’s a little selection for you to view.

By the way, today’s event will have raised a few thousand pounds!


30 April; Author: World Cup Willy

Finally … after many months … I have uploaded the best 100 photos from the 2010 Homeless World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Click here to see them.

The Homeless World Cup Foundation is running a corporate 5 a side football competition this summer and you are welcome to enter a team. If you can’t make it, may be you know someone who can.

The event is being run at Soccerdome (formerly the David Beckham Academy) on 25th June and all money raised from this event will go to the Homeless World Cup bursary fund. Each team entered will represent one of the participating nations and the day will include food, drink, medals/trophies and entry into random lucky prize draws. Remember that over 70% of those who take part in The Homeless World Cup go on to develop positive futures for themselves – that’s 500 players from the flagship event and over 30,000 at grassroots level, so the charity’s work really does make a difference to so many people around the world.

Official info can be found by clicking this link.

Just been watching a TV show online, all about Team Canada and their journey to and beyond Rio 2010. Life’s already looking up for them. Click the link to watch it (about 28 minutes long).


I’ve spent many hours this weeks around Mel Young, photographing him, running erands for his team, but not any time to do more than say “hello”. This has scuppered my chances of talking to him in depth about him and The Homeless World Cup, so I’ve compiled a little bit of information from around the internet to give you an insight.

Mel, founder of The Big Issue in Scotland, set up The Homeless World Cup Foundation in 2001 with Harald Schmied, editor of a Austrian street paper. His vision was to unite homeless people through a simple, common language. 18 months after first talking about the issue, Mel and Harald held the first Homeless World Cup in Graz, Austria, with just 18 teams, but outstanding results and lasting impact on the participants’ lives. Based on that success, they rolled out the project in successive years across the world with more than 64 nations taking.

So, Mel’s vision is to start to make a dent in the one billion homeless people in the world, through football. This can only be done in small steps, but through The Homeless World Cup Foundation, their football programmes around the world and the annual competition, the participants can start to take responsibility for their futures and changing the face of homelessness. This has already proven to be working, as more than 70% of participants come move on from The Homeless World Cup into new lives and 94% say the event has had a positive impact on their lives.

All quite simple and effective and, as this years’ t-shirts say, a ball can change the world!

Info taken from Wikipedia and The Homeless World Cup website.

Photo courtesy of www.theskinny.co.uk

Mel Young

Changing lives

27 September; Author: World Cup Willy

There’s lots of fun being had out in Rio, by staff, volunteers and players, but behind all that is a much more important issue – homelessness. It’s difficult to see that it exists here at the Copacabana Stadium, as everyone is on the same level together, living together, playing together, experiencing together, but there are a wide range of stories that the players have to tell. I wanted to find out a bit more about it … read on …

Paraguay: The Paraguayan girls’ team is made up of girls from five different cultures and two of the team had no recognised identities 2 weeks before the tournament. It seems extraordinary that something we take for granted at birth back home is not available to people, even through their teens and into their early twenties. Julia Corvala, from Fundacion Paraguay and travelling with the Paraguayan team, was also able to tell The Homeless World Cup a little more about the girls´ backgrounds. ‘Forty percent of people in Paraguay live under the poverty line, 20% are in extreme poverty. The girls who come to us all live below the poverty line, with families living on only $2 per day’ she said. Fundacion Paraguay work with the Nike Foundation, who awarded them a $1.6 million grant to run the Mbaracayu Educational Centre. The school, based in the forests of a UNESCO natural forest reserve is completely financially self-sufficient and environmentally conscious. They provide the opportunity for young women, some of whom represent the Paraguay team, to finish high school and even to continue to University level. (Quote and information from Julia Corvala is from The Homeless World Cup website)

India: The 2 Indian teams are largely made up of orphans aged 18-20. They’ve been living in accommodation provided by a local charity in central India for as long as they can remember. Just 2 years ago, a Football Box (a bundle of equipment and coaching programme) was given to them so they could implement a youth training programme in their home town and initially 20 coaches successfully went through the programme. Now there are 123 coaches trained locally through this initiative and their first 2 teams have entered The Homeless World Cup, one of them winning the award for fair play. The organiser of the Indian teams is expecting the programme to continue, as it offers their participants the chance for personal development and to learn how to engage with society and other people – something that has been experienced fully at The Homeless World Cup (and something I have seen in them – a largely shy and retiring team now chats, laughs and jokes openly with players from other nations, even with a language barrier).

Palestine: Team Palestine are made up of homeless refugees, now living in camps in Lebanon to escape the conflict at home. Their families are poor and many people in these camps will have experienced hunger, murder and aggression. In the summer, their tents are hot, like ovens, and in the winter, temperatures drop to freezing. They have lives that no one would want to live and their only outlet is sport, hence the opportunity offered by The Homeless World Cup. The Rio 2010 Organising Committee have worked hard to ensure that Team Palestine can take part in this years’ competition, overcoming a wide range of hurdles, and the hard work is paying off, as the players make the most of their time here and integrate with other nations well, often being the centre of attention in groups, as they chat, eat and kick a ball around.

Croatia: Since we first met last weekend, following a cheeky exchange of facial expressions and (innocent) hand gestures, Ivan (38 from Croatia), and I have built a relationship of respect and trust. Despite his limited English and my non-existent Croatian we managed to get a few minutes to talk about his life and what it means to be at The Homeless World Cup. Ivan was involved in the Yugoslavia war in the early 1990s. His participation was reluctant and his experiences drove him to drink and drugs for many years. Through the church in his home town, near Split, Ivan has received support and worked hard to improve his life and be clean of drink and drugs. He sees his time in Rio as a great opportunity to step forward in his life and to take the inspiration he has found from meeting others and playing football with them. He returns this week to his home town, with fresh hope for a positive future.

They think it’s all over … it is now! There’s no people on the pitch, there’s no Geoff Hurst hattrick and Kenneth Wolstenholme isn’t commentating. But The Homeless World Cup 2010 is now finished.

Brazil ran out winners of the men’s and women’s tournaments with wins over Chile and Mexico, respectively, in front of a stadium packed with players, spectators and media. And earlier in the day Slovenia, Philippenes, Ukraine, Argentina and Austria all won their own competitions … celebrations all round!

The day finished wet, so the trophies were presented in a local school gym – a bit of a dampener at the end of the week, but football and the promise of bright futures for the players was the biggest winner. The prize giving ceremony finished with a party for the players, officials and organisers – hundreds of people mingling, taking photographs, exchanging email addresses and swapping shirts – hundreds of people together because of homelessness and football.

I don’t know exactly what is going to happen from here on, but watching the guys and girls over the last week, I think it’s going to be something good. The plan from The Homeless World Cup is just that … and it seems like there’s every opportunity it could happen. I’m hoping to be able to keep in touch with some of the guys here in Rio, so I’ll be able to see exactly what happens over the coming months and years.

Well done, everyone! Fantastic efforts this week!

Photos courtesy of The Homeless World Cup and Nicolae Stoian/Photographers for Hope

Brazil Men CelebrateBrazil Women CelebratePacked Stadium on Finals Day

What is this all about?

This is all about creating new futures for people ... through football. It's simple! And more than 500 people from across the world will have the opportunity by taking part in the 2010 Homeless World Cup. The event raises awareness of homelessness globally and drives people to change their lives with new health, jobs, homes, families and more. If you'd like to sponsor me, please click here.

Who am I?

I'm Wil, a football fan ... and now a volunteer at the 2010 Homeless World Cup. I've taken on the challenge of volunteering for the 2010 Homeless World Cup to combine my passion for football with a desire to help others. I'll be getting my hands dirty at the event, helping in a whole range of ways (lugging around equipment, directing teams, talking to the press, compiling results, writing blogs and more). It's a fantastic opportunity to get involved and to make a difference to so many other people's lives.