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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Homeless football cup under way
Homeless world cup game in Gothenburg
The players are hoping to turn their lives around
The second football World Cup for the homeless has kicked off in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

More than 200 homeless players representing 28 countries from four continents are taking part.

The tournament is designed both to highlight the problem of homelessness and to help those involved overcome their problems.

The event is organised by a worldwide network of street papers and supported by sporting goods manufacturers.

The week-long Homeless World Cup is due to culminate in a final next Sunday.

Tip of the iceberg

Last year's event was won by the host country, Austria.

It is pure therapy for those taking part, because football has a magic effect
Berhard Wolf
organiser
Organisers say it was a big success, with 31 of the 141 players now holding regular jobs and 12 signed as football players or coaches.

Forty-nine players are said to have changed their lives around by taking courses, overcoming addictions or finding a home.

"It is... pure therapy for those taking part, because football has a magic effect," organiser Berhard Wolf told Sweden's TT news agency.

However he acknowledged that the few taking part in the tournament were "just the tip of a huge iceberg".

Among this year's 28 participating countries are Argentina, Brazil, Britain, France, Japan, Kenya, Namibia, Poland, Russia, South Africa and the US.

Homeless World Cup matches last 14 minutes and are played on pitches measuring 20m (65ft) by 14m (45ft).


SEE ALSO:
UEFA's red card for charity drive
05 Jul 04  |  Norfolk
Soccer highlights homeless plight
26 May 04  |  Northern Ireland


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