8 reasons not to miss the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow

Maxine Blane

The Homeless World Cup kicked off in Glasgow on Sunday and runs until Saturday 16 July

GLASGOW is playing host to the Homeless World Cup in George Square this week and CommonSpace has a breakdown of eight reasons you can’t afford to miss it.

The first Homeless World Cup took place in Graz in 2003, and today it is a tournament that works with over 70 national partners to support programmes that use football to inspire homeless people to improve their lives.

Homeless people are selected for their country’s team by these national partner organisations, which also raise the funds necessary to send teams to the tournament. To be chosen as a host city, Glasgow had to meet a number of criteria, including having an active Homeless Wold Cup partner organisation in Scotland and a potential for lasting impact.

Talk about fast football – games are so quick you can catch one on your lunch break.

Homeless World Cup matches are all about speed. Two teams of eight players play four-a-side (only four players from each team are allowed on the pitch during play) for two halves of just seven minutes, with a one minute break in between. There are three pitches set up in George Square, and matches are often played simultaneously, so you could easily catch a fantastic match in the time you might spend waiting for the train.

Matches are free to attend – you don’t even need a ticket

If you’re looking for a day out that doesn’t break the bank, then you’re in luck – the Homeless World Cup is completely free to attend, with no need to book tickets in advance. Just turn up and enjoy some fantastic fast-paced football! The tournament also provides 10 accessible spaces at every match.

There are so many matches taking place you’ll be guaranteed to see some great goals

416 games will be played over the course of the tournament. That’s 5,824 minutes of intense, high-speed football taking place in George Square. With a bountiful number of goals so far, you’re bound to catch some fantastic action.

You’ll be supporting a huge volunteer effort

More than 350 volunteers will be on hand in George Square managing the expected 100,000 visitors across the tournament. After the success of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Glasgow is once again proving itself as a focal point for those wishing to donate their time and energy, and volunteers are travelling from all over the world to take part. You can show your support by attending any time between 11am and 7pm until 16 July.

If you’re feeling the Euro withdrawal already, don’t panic, all your favourite nations are here – 64 teams will be competing

Between 10 July and 16 July, 64 teams representing 52 nations will take to the pitch. World number one’s Brazil are playing across the next few days, and you can catch Scotland (currently ranked 15th) today at 1pm and 5pm.

The tournament has a proven positive impact on players

After the tournament a majority of players return to their home countries bouyed up by the feeling of team spirit and belonging and a proven boost in self-esteem. Many go on to improve their lives by working for social enterprises, gaining education, and taking part in rehabilitation programmes.  The Homeless World Cup reports that “An amazing 94 per cent of players consistently say that the Homeless World Cup has had a positive impact on their lives.”

Both male and female teams are taking part

Unlike FIFA which holds seperate World Cup tournaments for men and women, at the Homeless World Cup female teams compete at the same time. Of the 52 teams taking part, 16 are women’s teams, including teams from the USA, Argentina and Norway.

Where else could you watch Scotland win at football two days in a row?

Both Scottish teams opened the competition with victories on Sunday. The men’s team beat Hong-Kong 8-4, and the women’s team triumphed 11-1 over Norway. On Monday the men held a narrow victory over Bosnia-Herzegovinia on penalties, and you can support Scotland (@streetsoccerSCO) when they play throughout the tournament.

You can support the Homeless World Cup here and follow along with all the action on social media with #HWC2016.

Pictures courtesy of Homeless World Cup

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