The Homeless World Cup is a unique, pioneering social movement which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their own lives. Homeless World Cup 2016 is taking place in Glasgow's George Square from July 10th to July 16th. For more information, visit

International Referee Programme

Over many years and many international tournaments, the Homeless World Cup has gathered a dedicated group of international referees. Every year, they volunteer their time and skills to whistle with passion. Some are professional FIFA referees in their own countries, while others officiate as street football referees for various events.

Paul Nagtegaal, who is based in the Netherlands and part of our core team of international referees, developed a curriculum for international street football referees. The result is a course to train local referees and former players from all of our partner organisations to become official Homeless World Cup Referees.

Aims and Objectives

The course is aimed at former players from our worldwide partner organisations as well as local referees in countries hosting the Homeless World Cup tournament.

Many players who take part in one of our national partners’ programmes want to stay involved with street soccer, especially after having played at the Homeless World Cup annual tournament. One of the possibilities is for them to train as a Homeless World Cup official referee and whistle at one of our events.

Many of our partners on the ground use local referees at their own tournaments. They can come from professional leagues, clubs or neighbour countries. We want to train all referees to the same standard and become international Homeless World Cup referees.

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About the Courses

The course is divided into two parts: theory and practice. The theory takes place in a classroom set-up and participants and includes:

  • Learning Homeless World Cup official rules
  • Understanding what a good referee is
  • Getting feedback on their behaviour on the pitch

The practice component takes place on the pitch. Participants get to take part in games and refereeing situations where they can visualise and understand what they have learnt in the classroom.
Finally, participants are given the chance to referee at a real tournament.

At the end of the course, students are handed their official Homeless World Cup International Refereeing Programme Certificates.

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Meet a Referee: Paco, Switzerland

Paco is a former player from the Swiss national partner organisation, Surprise Strassesnport. He took part in the Paris 2011 Homeless World Cup and returned to Switzerland wishing to stay involved.

Soon after his return to Switzerland, he began coaching a local team and led them to the national championship. At the same time, he also trained as an international referee.

For their latest national championship, Surprise Stranssensport named Paco head referee and gave him the responsibility of training former players and local referees before the big event.

In March 2015, Paco delivered a Homeless World Cup International Referee course and was the head referee at the Switzerland National Street Soccer Championship.

Paco Switzerland Referee


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