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The Homeless World Cup!!!

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Thats right, a World Cup for the homeless took part in Denmark, below is an article from the times revealing how 15 homeless players from Burundi, Liberia, Cameroon and Afghanistan went on the run in Denmark.

In the final, Scotland beat Poland 9-3, and Liberia, despite losing runaway players, came third.

The Times Article :

African participation in the Homeless World Cup, a football tournament designed to improve the confidence of former vagrants, was under review last night after 15 players went on the run at the finals in Denmark.

The competition’s aim — to offer a golden opportunity for homeless people to change their lives — was taken literally by seven players from Burundi, four from Liberia, three from Cameroon and one from Afghanistan.

Danish police were looking for the footballers last night but admitted that they could easily have travelled further afield in the Schengen system of 15 “borderless” EU countries, which do not require visitors to show passports. The players’ visas expired on Monday after the tournament ended.

Kay Byles, a spokeswoman for the Scottish-based Homeless World Cup Foundation, said that it was the first of the annual contests — which started in 2002 — to experience runaways. Arrangements for next year’s cup in Melbourne would be reviewed, she said.

“Basically, the organisation is a bit in shock and we are really sorry that they have let down Denmark, their teammates and the projects for the homeless,” she said.

“We held the cup in Cape Town last year and it was an amazing success. We will just have to see whether we work with projects locally or incentivise them to return home.”

She added: “We do not want to penalise the Africans, so an incentive to return home could be part of getting on the team, you could pay for their education, for example.”

The cup was the brainchild of Mel Young, founder of The Big Issue in Scotland, who has said that its aim was to “create a mechanism where homeless people can change the circumstances in their lives”.

He added that three out of four players “change their lives for the better after participating by coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into jobs, education, homes, training, reuniting with families and even going on to become players and coaches for pro or semi-pro football teams”.

Five-hundred players from 48 nations participated in this year’s tournament in which Scotland beat Poland in the final by nine goals to three. Despite losing four players, Liberia came third.

Previous Homeless World Cup tournaments have been hosted without incident by Graz in Austria, Gothenburg in Sweden, Edinburgh in Scotland and Cape Town in South Africa.

Danish police said that they would arrest and deport the runaways if they were found.

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