2024 Homeless World Cup to debut in Asia in Seoul with 70 nations expected

December 19 – Seoul in South Korea will host the next edition of the Homeless World Cup in 2024, the 19th time the competition will have been played and the first time in Asia.

The Homeless World Cup Foundation and The Big Issue South Korea announced the tournament will be held in October next year over eight days and is expected to host nearly 70 nations.

The location and exact dates will be announced early in 2024.

This year the Homeless World Cup was hosted in Sacramento, California, its first visit to the US. Discussions are underway for hosting of the 2025 and 2026 editions.

Mel Young, HWCF president and co-founder, said: “Seoul is the world’s 16th largest capital city and South Korea is a wonderful place to visit with a huge football fan base and culture… Over the years we have proved that using the power of football can change lives and we remain committed to tackling and ending global homelessness.

“We are also engaged with several cities looking to host future editions of the Homeless World Cup which is incredibly positive and further cements the tournament as a key part of the global sporting calendar.”

There are an estimated 100 million people homeless worldwide with as many as 1 billion people lacking adequate housing. The HWC seeks to address and highlight the experiences of homeless people that include social exclusion and stigmatisation, economic hardship and poverty, and physical and mental health problems.

Sooryul Kim, The Big Issue South Korea president, said: “We aim to raise awareness in Korean society about homelessness through the Homeless World Cup. The Korean society often perceive homelessness narrowly in terms of policy and still view housing primarily as an investment product rather than a basic right. By hosting the Homeless World Cup – an international festival – we hope to draw citizens’ attention to guarantee housing rights and lay the socially supporting foundation for policy changes.”

From homeless to Hollywood

The Homeless World Cup is not an official FIFA competition but has carved its own niche and values out a real world experience and fierce desire to make a difference.

The stories behind the individuals that have played in the competition have triggered interest from Hollywood and 2024 will see the release of the film The Beautiful Game. Starring Bill Nighy and Michael Ward, the film follows a team of English homeless footballers, led by their coach Mal (Bill Nighy), who travel from London to Rome to compete in The Homeless World Cup.

At the last minute they decide to bring with them a talented striker Vinny (Michael Ward), but he must confront his own issues and once-promising past, in order to help the team win the Homeless World Cup and move on with his own life. The film will be released globally on Netflix in Spring 2024.

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