On Sunday (28 August) one of the best social intervention projects in football, the Homeless World Cup, reached it’s 2011 finale.
The event, staged in Paris this year, ended with the men’s team from Scotland and the Kenyan women’s side taking home the trophies, both overcoming Mexico in their respective finals.
The Homeless World Cup, an international football tournament beating homelessness, brought together 64 national teams playing over 300 street football matches, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, on the Champs de Mars in Paris.
The Scots beat Mexico 4-3 in front of hundreds of spectators. This is Scotland's second time winning the Homeless World Cup, having already taken the trophy home in 2007. Kenya was crowned the 2011 Women's Homeless World Cup champions after they defeated Mexico 4-3 in an enthralling final.
There were also nine individual awards presented to players, coaches and teams, including best newcoming team (Indonesia), the Richard Ishmail fair play award (Australia) and the best female player award (Jade Morrison, Scotland).
Energising the homeless
The Homeless World Cup is a pioneering social enterprise which exists to end homelessness by using football to energise homeless people to change their own lives.
The competition, which counts Eric Cantona amongst its ambassadors, inspires national grassroots football projects, engaging over 30,000 homeless players a year to change their lives. Over 70% of participants are proven to be able to make changes for the better.
Mel Young, President, Homeless World Cup said: “Congratulations to Scotland and Kenya on becoming champions at the Homeless World Cup. We have seen some astounding football here in Paris.”
“It is the players and managers of the national teams that have made this a fantastic tournament. Thank you. It is your spirit and determination that is changing the world. Your emerging leadership is destroying the stereotype and stigma of homelessness and creating real and lasting change around the world.”
Following the tournaments closing the baton was handed to beaten finalists Mexico for the Mexico City 2012 Homeless World Cup.
Read Lawrence Cann’s New York Times blog on the event.
Watch every game played at the Paris 2011 Homeless World Cup and Women's Homeless World Cup with commentary in multiple languages –