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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Kick off for Homeless World Cup
Homeless World Cup march
A march in Edinburgh marked the start of the Homeless World Cup
Teams from across the globe have gathered in Edinburgh for the third Homeless World Cup.

Play began on Wednesday at a specially built 2,000 capacity venue in the city's Princes St Gardens.

The tournament was set up three years ago by the International Network of Street Papers and Mel Young, founder of the Big Issue in Scotland.

The final takes place on Sunday. Teams include Argentina, Brazil, Scotland, England and last year's winners Italy.

Wednesday morning's opening march went from The Mound to the Ross Bandstand, where speeches began at noon.

Polish supporter

Scottish band El Presidente, who have played Glastonbury and T in the Park, performed at the opening ceremony followed by kick-off at 1300 BST. Entry to fans is free.

A spokesman for the tournament said: "Street Soccer and the Homeless World Cup is significantly transforming lives around the world with players going on to find regular employment, come off drugs and alcohol, pursue education, improve their housing and even play for semi-professional and professional football clubs."

Organisers said Scot David Duke is a great example of how this works.

Mr Duke played for Scotland in last year's tournament and was made the assistant coach of this year's team.

He has since beaten his alcohol addiction, trained as a certified youth coach and trains a team of young people in Glasgow.

David Duke
It's helped me so I can help others
David Duke
Scotland assistant coach

He said: "When the opportunity arose to become assistant coach for this year's national squad, I went for the interview and they decided I was the best man for the job.

"That really set me up. Doing three different coaching jobs has brought me forward.

"The experience of being in last year's tournament really helped. It's helped me so I can help others."

The Homeless World Cup is backed by Uefa, the Scottish Executive, EventScotland, SportScotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Street Soccer is played on a 20m by 14m pitch with a tarmac or concrete surface.

Refused entry

Games last seven minutes each way, with one minute for half time. There are two group stages with teams playing for a place in the finals on Sunday.

Thirty two nations were due to compete, but organisers have hit out after five African teams, from Burundi, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya, were refused entry to the UK.

Previous tournaments have taken place in Austria in 2003 and Sweden in 2004.

Next year's event is scheduled for Cape Town, South Africa, in 2006.


SEE ALSO:
Anger over ban on homeless teams
16 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Homeless football cup under way
26 Jul 04 |  Europe


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