Our guide to the Home World Cup, a competition helping over a million people around the world, and inspiring even more!
Welcome to the only football competition in the world in which Scotland not only wins, but hosts! You may not be able to bet on the Homeless World Cup at online sportsbooks, but it’s worth paying attention to it all the same. Competition is fierce, but it’s really just a showcase of the great work the organisation do to help homeless people across the globe.
This is the 14th edition of the Homeless World Cup, and over a million homeless people around the world have been helped. Over seventy nations have sent teams, and the tournament has been won by Afghanistan and Ukraine, as well as traditional football powerhouses like Brazil and Italy. Even more incredibly, as well as helping homeless people, Scotland have won the tournament twice!
History of the Homeless World Cup
The Homeless World Cup was founded by Scotsman Mel Young, who says that “the ultimate aim of the homeless world cup is not to exist”. He wishes that there were no homelessness, but while there is he sees football as an effective way to help those who don’t have homes. He notes how it builds self-confidence, and that 80% of those who are involved with his scheme improve their lives as a consequence.
This improvement can come in the form of getting a home, but also getting a job or successfully battling drug addiction. To play in the Homeless World Cup, several criteria must be fulfilled. Most importantly, players must be at least 16, and cannot have competed in any previous edition of the tournament.
Players must have been homeless at some point in the previous year, although this is extended to two year for those currently in drug or alcohol rehabilitation. Participants are also able to play if they make their living as a streetpaper vendor or are currently asylum seekers or have been within the previous year.
Matches feature two fields each with three outfield and one goalkeeper on playing at any time. There are four substitutes allowed, with changes permitted at any time. Teas are encouraged to use their whole roster throughout the tournament. Matches last fourteen minutes, with two seven minute halves, but with a small pitch this doesn’t mean there isn’t time for goals!
Guide to the homeless world cup this year
This year’s Homeless World Cup has already begun in Glasgow, with matches taking place in the cities centrally located George Square. The games are streamed on Youtube, with commentary, and while online sportsbooks in the UK don’t provide odds, it could be a fun event to bet on with your friends.
Team rankings are based on previous tournament performances, with Brazil top men’s seeds followed by Mexico then Portugal. For women, the top seeds are Mexico, Chile, then Argentina. Clearly the South Americans are highly regarded. Some big results so far include Ireland’s 15-1 demotion of Greece and then a 14-1 thrashing of Sweden. South Africa won 14-0 against Austria while the Netherlands beat Ivory Coast in a 11-5 thriller.
With so many goals, and such a quickfire format, it’s a great spectator sport as well as a terrific cause. Check out the matches on Youtube, or go to the Homeless World Cup official homepage to learn more or support the organisation.