Mel Young

Earlier today, President and co-founder of the Homeless World Cup, Mel Young spoke to The Homeless Goal.

The actual concept of a tournament was discussed over a beer with fellow co-founder, Harald Schmied.

Initial discussions for a one-off street football competition took place after the 2001 Cape Town conference on homelessness, but it soon became apparent this would not be the case following the success of the first Homeless World Cup in Graz, Austria.

Mr Young said: “We were only ever going to do that one [tournament].

“We never thought we would do it every year, but it was so successful that we decided to do it as often as we could and we’ve done 11 events now.”

The first tournament featured 18 countries – compared to 70 in the last tournament in Poznan, Poland – and the players were sellers from national street papers.

Eleven years on and the tournament has got bigger with each host providing something different every year.

“We just played on the street there [Graz, Austria]. We didn’t play on the pitch surfaces we have now,” said the Scottish social entrepreneur. “It made it different.

“The players were staying in dormitories. There were converted classrooms, so there was 10 in a converted classroom.

“All of that was fine and the atmosphere was great, but the whole standard of it has increased now.

“It’s bigger. It’s well organised.

“Sometimes people ask me, which is the best one [host], but I would say they’re all different. There isn’t a best one.”

The full interview with Mel Young is available below.

For more details on the million seater virtual stadium, head to www.hwcsc.com

Follow The Homeless Goal on Twitter @TheHomelessGoal

You can also find Mel Young and the Homeless World Cup on Twitter @melyoung53 and @homelesswrldcup

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