Homeless World Cup can ’transform lives’

Credit: Alex Walker for Homeless World Cup

Credit: Alex Walker for Homeless World Cup

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen says football can help transform lives as Cardiff prepares to host the 2019 Homeless World Cup.

More than 500 players representing over 50 countries will travel to Cardiff to play in the festival of football which seeks to inspire people experiencing homelessness and social exclusion towards a brighter future.

Cardiff University is proud to support the event, which takes place in Bute Park from Saturday 27 July to Saturday 3 August.

We are providing practical support by hosting the hundreds of players and key personnel from 50 countries at our Talybont halls of residence. Dr Pete Mackie, from our School of Geography and Planning, is lending his world-leading expertise in housing and homelessness to organisers to inform initiatives that can impact on homelessness in the city after the final whistle is blown.

The tournament will be staged in Cardiff by the Homeless World Cup Foundation and supported by social inclusion charity Street Football Wales.

The bid was led by Welsh actor and activist Sheen, who is taking a hands-on role in the organisation of the event.

He said: “I want the Cardiff 2019 Homeless World Cup to be about creating a legacy of change informed by those on the frontlines of these issues and delivered by an entire nation together in a spirit of compassion and co-operation, qualities that we have long held dear and that have proudly defined us as a people.

The University’s commitment to the issue of homelessness runs deep, with our experts informing public debate and influencing government policy through research.

Our research investigates many aspects of homelessness including affordable housing, mental health, social exclusion, health needs and employment opportunities.

This research has real impact on wider society and is an important part of our commitment to our communities - we call it our ‘civic mission’.

University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Holford said: “We’re very much looking forward to supporting the Homeless World Cup in Cardiff and welcoming the teams and coaches from around the world.

“This event will shine a spotlight on many of the complex issues that contribute to homelessness and will help make a difference to people’s lives.”

Keri Harris, Director & Founder of Street Football Wales, and Squad Manager for both Wales teams at the Homeless World Cup, said: “Street Football Wales has had a huge impact on our players over the past 16 years and we estimate to have worked with over 8,000 players in that time with our biggest impacts being on physical and mental health, confidence and self-esteem, a reduction in substance misuse and people feeling less isolated.”