Homeless World Cup enlist football stars to relive tournament classics

Karen Carney, Michail Antonio and Nuno Gomes will drop in on July 5 for the first-ever virtual World Cup Day after Covid-19 cancelled the Tampere tournament

Normally at this time of year The Big Issue would be gearing up for our highlight of the sporting calendar: the Homeless World Cup.

Covid-19’s devastating impact on the sporting world means that the 2020 tournament in Tampere, Finland, was called off earlier this year, but organisers will host the first-ever virtual Homeless World Cup Day on July 5 – the day when the finals were due to take place.

Much as the BBC is marking the void left by the postponement of the Euros with Euros Rewind, the Homeless World Cup Foundation will be reliving some of the classic matches from previous tournaments held in Glasgow, Mexico City and in Cardiff last year.

And they have named a star-studded squad of commentators to join them, with West Ham star Michail Antonio, ex-England legend Karen Carney and former Scotland international John Collins taking turns behind the mic.

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Since 1991 The Big Issue has sold more than 200,000,000 copies – helping the most vulnerable in society earn more than £115 million.

Terry Angus and Jason Lee will also take part while the international flavour of the event will be provided by ex-Portugal striker Nuno Gomes and Germany’s Steffen Freund, once of Tottenham Hotspur while presenter David Tanner will host.

“It is fantastic to have such high-profile football stars involved in our event and giving us their support,” said Homeless World Cup Foundation chair Mel Young.

“Cancelling the tournament meant we lost more than a sporting event. We lost the stage in which we showcase the power of football to inspire and change lives. HWC Day will reclaim that stage and bring people from all over the world together in one single cause; to end homelessness.

“This virtual event on what would have been our finals day will help us relive some of the great sporting moments that make the Homeless World Cup so special.

“We are looking for as many people as possible to join in on the day and as with all of our tournaments it is free for anyone to access.”

As well as showing off some football classics of days gone by, the virtual event will show off the work that the tournament organisers do to change lives through the annual football extravaganza and share the remarkable stories of players who have taken to the pitch in the past.

You can sign up to “take your seat in the virtual station” through the Homeless World Cup website.

Image: Anita Miles