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UK & Blair stop 5 African nations playing in the Homeless World Cup.

category international | housing | news report author Wednesday July 20, 2005 14:37author by stand strong diego! Report this post to the editors

Five African football teams all set to travel to the UK on Monday 19 July take part in the Homeless World Cup, the global street soccer tournament kicking off global poverty, have been refused entry to the UK by the British government. Just days before they were due to travel to Edinburgh for the event, entry is refused on the basis that they do not have sufficient funds to support themselves whilst visiting the UK.

Five African football teams all set to travel to the UK on Monday 19 July take part in the Homeless World Cup, the global street soccer tournament kicking off global poverty, have been refused entry to the UK by the British government. Just days before they were due to travel to Edinburgh for the event, entry is refused on the basis that they do not have sufficient funds to support themselves whilst visiting the UK.

The street soccer teams from Kenya, Zambia, Burundi, Cameroon and Nigeria were all set to make their debut in the third Homeless World Cup tournament, being staged in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens 20-24 July, just weeks after the G8 Summit where discussions about eliminating poverty in Africa were the focus.

Co-founder Mel Young said: "The G8 saw the British government lead the way in discussing grand gestures and pledges for Africa. They have now missed an opportunity to lead the world in taking real action towards making poverty history and creating significant real change.

"The Homeless World Cup is designed to support and encourage people to transform their lives, to lift themselves from poverty and it has had significant success with 70% of players in the last two world cups going on to improve their situation. To deny homeless people access to the UK on the basis that they are too poor is ridiculous. It raises some serious questions around the British Governments commitment to taking action towards alleviating poverty in Africa.”

Despite organisers of the five teams making every effort to fulfil all the British government's entry requirements over the last six months the news was broken to the teams with only a couple of days before they were set to travel allowing no time to appeal the decision.

The Burundi Homeless World Cup Team, formed from street children from the capital Bujumbura, were given information initially which indicated that they should travel to Uganda in order to have their fingerprints taken to apply for British Visas. However, they were eventually offered Rwanda as an alternative and had to make a six day round trip for fingerprinting and interviewing. This was both arduous and expensive.

The organiser of the Burundi team, Jean-Marie Bizimana, is distraught at the decision: "I do not think the entry clearance officials took the time to read all the documents or get in touch with the organisers. I don't know how I will tell the team. Our homeless project is now finished, it is a catastrophe. Our small funds have been used on preparations in the hope that the Homeless World Cup would generate interest in the project. After a long period of preparation we will need to work hard to keep the young boys and girls away from the streets and drugs. They will say 'no chance, no hope' after this."

Bizimana hopes to organise a football tournament in Rwanda in an effort to help the street children recover from the disappointment of missing out on Edinburgh.

The Homeless World Cup team from Nigeria were turned down after embassy officials decided the players would not have enough money to support themselves in Scotland. This was despite assurances from both team officials and the Homeless World Cup office in Edinburgh that all player needs were taken care of during the tournament in Edinburgh. The players had accommodation at Edinburgh University's Pollock Halls of Residence, free meals and the German street paper BISS had donated a daily allowance to all the African players.

The African teams included letters from previous host governments in their application package. Both the Austrian and Swedish governments commended the players from previous Homeless World Cups on their behaviour and attitude.

The Homeless World Cup is a street soccer tournament uniting teams of homeless people from around the globe to kick off global poverty. Organised by the International Network of Street Papers the HWC is sponsored and supported by UEFA from the footballing world, The United Nations and Nike from the corporate sector. A fast growing, fast-paced, highly competitive, dynamic sport full of courage, inspiration, grit and energy it is capturing the imagination of millions worldwide and proving sports massive potential for social inclusion.

Homeless World Cup teams are supported by several world-class football teams - England is supported by Manchester United and Spain has links with Real Madrid - and it is hoped their lead will spark support and involvement from other clubs in setting up soccer academies around the world to further increase the global impact of street soccer and the Homeless World Cup.

The International Network of Street Papers (INSP), from which the 'Homeless World Cup' event has emerged, today comprises of more than 55 member papers in 28 countries, ranging from South Africa to Russia and from Germany to the USA. The organisation, based in Scotland, was set up in 1994 to promote the concept of the street papers as means to address social exclusion and poverty in society. Street papers create employment and help to develop employable people through income derived from the sale of their publication and from a range of tailored social support programmes. The INSP has a combined annual circulation of over 27 million and 17 different language groups and lends its full support to the empowerment and personal development offered by participation in the Homeless World Cup.

2004 Homeless World Cup Impact Report Summary
Figures from the Homeless World Cup suggest that sport can make a real impact on problems experienced by homeless and excluded people. After the Homeless World Cup 2004, more than 90% of people said that it had a positive impact on their lives and 74% had made significant changes in their lives as a direct result of their involvement.

Research carried out amongst the 204 players involved in the 2004 Homeless World Cup has produced some staggering statistics:

188 players 92% have a new motivation for life.
78 players 38% found regular employment.
95 players 46% improved their housing situation.
70 players 34% have pursued education.
56 players 27% have addressed their drug dependency.
146 players 72% continue to play football after the Homeless World Cup.

16 players have even been signed professionally or semi-professionally in a playing or coaching capacity by football clubs.


EXTRACT from RH Tony Blair HMG PM UK
speech to the Internationl Olympics Comittee in Singapore 2005

"We were honoured to receive the endorsement of the most inspiring statesman of our age: Nelson Mandela. He said this: `I can't think of a better place than London to hold an event that unites the world. London will inspire young people around the world and ensure that the Olympic Games remain the dream for future generations'.

Those words remind us that as leaders, in government or sport, we have a duty to reach beyond our own time and borders. To have a vision which serves those who come after us.

Our vision is to see millions more young people - in Britain and across the world - participating in sport, and improving their lives as a result of that participation.

And London has the power to make that happen. It is a city with a voice that talks to young people.

And, with more than 1,000 foreign media correspondents based here, it is a city with a voice that is heard all around the world.

It is that unique combination of strengths which London offers - a global platform for the Olympic message to young people.

Not just for the 17 days of the competition, but for the years leading up to the Games, and beyond."

complete text
homeless soccer

author by Duinepublication date Wed Jul 20, 2005 15:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cuireann sé in iúl dom cór a tháinig go hÉireann cúpla bliain ó shoin ón Romáin.
Fuair siad víosaí.
D'imigh siad gan tásc gan tuairisc.

author by mary belmulletpublication date Wed Jul 20, 2005 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How can homeless footballers be refused entry to the Homeless World Cup on grounds that they do not have sufficient funds while in UK?

That is like saying you cannot go onto a Training course because you do not have the training to begin with.

Surely for something so worthwhile some sort of sponsorship corporate or otherwise should be provided for their expenses??

This is typical rather than try to work through a problem constructively it is easier to say no in the first place. There is never a willingness to help the voiceless, the marginalised by gloryseekers.

What a sad world we live in today.

author by Duine Eilepublication date Wed Jul 20, 2005 22:32author email duine at fainne dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

An cead agaim dul go dhi an leitreas?

author by Duinepublication date Thu Jul 21, 2005 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Dhuine Eile,
Ná coinnigh istigh é!
Scaoil amach an bobailín!

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