About the Tournament
The first Homeless World Cup took place in 2003 in Graz, Austria, and we’ve been changing lives ever since. Our annual tournament brings together street football programmes from around the world, each representing their respective nation with passion and pride.
The positive change brought about by the Homeless World Cup goes beyond the players. In a 2016 survey of tournament spectators revealed that:
- 83% now have a more positive attitude towards homeless people as a result of attending the event
- 93% agreed that the event helped raise the profile of homelessness
- 96% think football is a good way of bringing people together
The tournament is a celebration of the amazing work being done by our National Partners around the world, an aspirational goal for individuals seeking a better future, and a powerful tool for changing public perceptions.
Each year, homeless people who were invisible on the streets become heroes on the pitch, standing proud representing their country as their lives are changed forever.
The Homeless World Cup is conceived in 2001 by Mel Young from Scotland and Harald Schmied from Austria, who come up with the idea when they meet in Cape Town at a global conference on homelessness.
The first annual Homeless World Cup takes place in Graz, Austria. The tournament sees 144 homeless players from 18 countries compete. Austria beats England 2-1 to lift the trophy.
Following the second Homeless World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, research is carried out that shows that more than 80% of the players have transformed their lives permanently.
Amazingly, the sun shines throughout the tournament when it’s hosted in Edinburgh, Scotland. Year-round activity across the globe increases and the impact of the event and its aims continues to grow.
Cape Town 2006
Desmond Tutu praises the players from 48 countries as the Homeless World Cup is held in Cape Town, South Africa. The Homeless World Cup expands its presence in Africa as several new African partners take part for the first time. The event attracts widening media coverage with 250 members of the international press present.
Copenhagen, Denmark hosts the Homeless World Cup with football legend Eric Cantona holding special coaching sessions with all the homeless players. The powerful documentary “Kicking It” is released to great acclaim and excitement.
Approximately 50,000 spectators fill Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia for the dramatic final between Russia and Afghanistan. Event surveys reveal that two-thirds of spectators change their perspective on homeless people; 82% agree that the Homeless World Cup breaks down stereotypes. Melbourne also hosts the first Women’s Homeless World Cup final.
Forty-eight nations and 500 players compete in the heart of Milan. The FIFA World Cup Trophy—won by host nation Italy in 2006—makes a special appearance in the Arena Civica alongside the Homeless World Cup trophy.
Rio de Janeiro 2010
Brazilian footballers dominate the Rio de Janeiro tournament, held on the magnificent Copacabana Beach. The state-of-the-art Youth and Women’s Leadership Centre is established on the outskirts of Rio following the tournament with the goal of tackling poverty and helping at risk young people fight social stigma and exclusion.
The Homeless World Cup in Paris is broadcast live online as the event takes place in a truly iconic location, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Workshops organized by Women Win accompany the tournament, helping empower female players from 16 nations.
Mexico City 2012
A spectacular 168,000 fans turn out to watch homeless players from 56 countries compete in the Homeless World Cup in the Zócalo Square in Mexico City. Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfred Lemke speaks at the opening ceremony.
Sixty-four teams compete in the 11th Homeless World Cup in Poznan, Poland. The opening ceremony is held in Lech Poznan’s stadium with 30,000 fans in attendance. The Homeless World Cup and Fare Network join forces to say “no to discrimination, yes to diversity.”
The spirit of Homeless World Cup partner UEFA’s Respect campaign permeates the 2014 tournament in Santiago, Chile. The Supporters Club is launched to galvanize the fantastic global supporter base and generate additional revenue to encourage street football projects around the world.
The Homeless World Cup returns to Europe as Amsterdam hosts the 2015 tournament. The event is held on the iconic Museumplein, at the doorstep of the world-famous Rijksmuseum.
Glasgow 2016 sees a bit of rain but dedicated attendance from the welcoming Scottish public. The tournament gains unprecedented online coverage across social and traditional online media.
Taking place from August 29 until September 5, the 2017 tournament will be held at the iconic Rådhusplassen, The City Hall Square, between Oslo City Hall and Oslo Fjord. Oslo 2017 will mark the 15th edition of the Homeless World Cup.
Men’s Homeless World Cup
Women’s Homeless World Cup
In the Heart of Glasgow
The 2016 Homeless World Cup took place in the heart of Glasgow, from July 10-16. For the duration of the seven day event, Glasgow’s George Square was transformed into “the most inspiring place on the planet.”
Relive Amsterdam 2015
The 2015 Homeless World Cup took place from September 12-19 in Amsterdam’s cultural centre, the Museumplein. A total of 63 teams and 500 players from around the world competed for eight trophies.
How the Game is Played
The Homeless World Cup football tournament has its own special rules.
The fast-paced games are 4-a-side and played in two halves of seven minutes each, with a one minute break for halftime. Women’s and men’s teams compete for separate cups—however women can play on the men’s teams. Each team consists of up to eight players, four of which—three field players and one goalie—are on the court at a time.
Explore Tournament Galleries
The Homeless World Cup has travelled to five continents in the last decade. See what the event was like in pictures, from the golden sands of Rio de Janeiro, to Cape Town’s sweeping Table Mountain, to some of the most famous landmarks of Europe.