Coronavirus may have blown the final whistle on the Homeless World Cup tournament this year but organisers are keen to play on with the first-ever Homeless World Cup Day taking place on July 5.
Teams would have been due to play in the latter stages of the tournament at Tampere’s Ratina Stadium on that date until the annual street football bash was called off last month.
It was a blow to more than 500 players who were looking to play in Finland and co-founder Mel Young said that “the commitment to using football as a way of tackling homelessness remains one hundred per cent” as he announced the postponement.
We're asking you to take your seat in our Virtual Stadium, for the first ever HWC Day!
You'll become part of our virtual fan base and can help us continue our life-changing work. You'll even get your own virtual seat! And it's free!#TakeYourSeat at https://t.co/bCCIv1oflo pic.twitter.com/3yi36srvA3
— Homeless World Cup (@homelesswrldcup) April 8, 2020
Today the team behind the Homeless World Cup revealed their next step: now July 5 will be devoted to celebrating how they use the power of football to inspire and change lives.
The Homeless World Cup Day will shine a light on how the street football programmes across the globe deliver their life-changing programmes all-year-round.
They’ll be sharing stories and setting fun challenges for fans who join their Virtual Stadium for free on the Homeless World Cup website – it’s a chance to take a virtual seat at one of the world’s best football events.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Meanwhile, Big Issue Changemaker David Duke isn’t waiting until July to show how his Street Soccer Scotland outfit – the social enterprise behind the Scotland Homeless World Cup team – are coping with players off the pitch and in self-isolation.
SSS have switched their motto to ‘Positive Change WITHOUT Football” for the time being, supporting people they help with meals and supplies for both them and their pets, live fitness sessions over Zoom, giving out smartphones to help players stay connected and even running online recovery sessions.
Writing in his latest update, Duke said: “In the past three weeks our team’s response to Covid-19 has been exceptional, putting players (as always) are the heart of their decision making and actions. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”