Glasgow is currently awash with the spirit of ‘o jogo bonito’ as the Homeless World Cup tournament lights up George Square
If you’ve been wondering what all the hoop-la in George Square is concerning, the 2016 Homeless World Cup is currently underway – running from July 10-16.
The tournament sees competitors from 52 countries coming together in the name of footballing glory, celebration and raising awareness of homelessness around the world.
If you wanted to know a little bit more about the tournament we spoke to the tournament’s spokesperson Lawrence Broadie about the reasons you should be get yourself down to George Square and give it yaldi.
1. The first few days have been amazing
“We promised Glasgow and Scotland that George Square would be the most inspiring place on the planet, and we are sure now that it is exactly that. The crowds have been sensational, and have given unrelenting support to all of our players.
“We’ve also unearthed some incredible stories – as you would expect – demonstrating that our players really are the finest ambassadors for humanity.”
2. People make Glasgow
“It is hard to compare, as each tournament is different because of different set-ups, different cultures, different people. We have had some amazing Homeless World Cup tournaments, but one thing it is fair to say is that few have been as friendly as Glasgow. The people have made it!
“From the very start we asked (and we knew to be honest) that the city of Glasgow would take this tournament to their hearts. They have. That allows us to create momentum and tell the story of our players, who are the real heroes.”
3. There’s no online queues, just head along
“Yes! Come on down. On Thursday, the site opens at 9am, play starts at 0930. On Friday and Saturday- site opens at 11am and play starts at 11:30.”
4. It’s about supporting each other
“Fans from other countries don’t particularly travel – the nature of the backgrounds for our players is, by definition, sometimes chaotic. However, the teams support each other brilliantly.”
5. It’s a life changing event
“Competitors will be without a home, perhaps in some sort of supported accommodation. They’ll also be participating in the street soccer programme for the participation country (we call these National Partners, of whom we have 73 across the world). They’ll be regularly attending, and getting support to move forward on your life.
“The Homeless World Cup is, it is fair to say, an incredible motivation and we know that 94% of players feel the tournament has a positive impact on their lives. It is also worth noting that players only play once – this is part of a journey.
“A ball can change people’s lives. We say that all the time. Football is a way of hooking people in, getting their attention, their focus even. It helps instil discipline, spirit, and builds confidence. Our players right now here in Glasgow are walking ten foot high, and rightly so.”
6. There’s a South American flavour
— Homeless World Cup (@homelesswrldcup) July 13, 2016
“As mentioned, the tournament has a completely new set of players each year, so the squads vary drastically.
“Generally, our South American programmes, are some of the biggest. Mexico are reigning holders of both tournaments, and they certainly look very strong in this tournament. But there are certainly some very, very good teams. Now in the second half of the week the tournament starts to strengthen as better teams face each other, games become more competitive and we find out who can shine”
7. There’s still hope for Scotland
“Scotland are in the top half of the tournament. The women have been exceptional so far and won every single game. We will see!”
8. You’ll learn something
“This tournament helps us redefine homelessness, and make people think differently. We have to challenge the world to tackle the issues and the serious inequality which exists across the planet. By seeing what can be done, we believe everyone can play a part in making a genuine difference.”
More information on the Homeless World Cup can be found at homelessworldcup.org