University backs Wales Homeless World Cup

Wales will host the 2019 Homeless World Cup - with Cardiff University playing a supporting role.

President and Founder of the Homeless World Cup, Mel Young, unveiled the plans at Thursday’s Wales v Spain football friendly.

The tournament - which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their lives - will be staged in Cardiff by the Homeless World Cup Foundation and supported by social inclusion charity Street Football Wales.

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen is Patron of Street Football Wales and is Chair of the Wales Homeless World Cup bid.

Cardiff University will host the hundreds of players and key personnel at its Talybont halls of residence.

Sheen said: “At first when I started talking to Street Football Wales I was asking why spend money on football rather than on homelessness directly.

“When I found out more, I saw the brilliance of the idea.

“Football allows you to deliver all kinds of services to homeless people. Once I understood that, the idea of a homeless football world cup became clearer - it was a way of explaining the whole concept.”

Sheen also gave the thumbs up to the University’s support.

University staff have previously shown Sheen and Street Football Wales Project Leader and Founder Keri Harris around the Talybont facilities that will host the teams.

“It’s fantastic. To be able to partner up with Cardiff University on this is really exciting,” said Sheen.

Cardiff University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Holford said: “The Homeless World Cup is an inclusive, effective force for good that empowers people to change their lives, so Cardiff University is delighted to support Wales hosting the tournament.

“It will be a great privilege for us to welcome hundreds of the players and key personnel from around the world at our halls of residence.

“Cardiff has been a wonderful venue for so many great sporting events in recent years and this will be another fantastic opportunity.”

Harris said: “Hosting the tournament in Wales will be the realisation of a dream - it will make a huge difference to our profile in Wales and raise much needed awareness of the issues associated with homelessness.”

The four-a-side Homeless World Cup is held in a different country each year.

The 2018 tournament is taking place in Mexico in November and Wales is sending two teams, men and women.