Cardiff Council has welcomed the news that the Welsh capital will host the 2019 Homeless World Cup.
The announcement about Wales's successful bid to host next year's tournament was made at the Principality Stadium byPresident and Founder of the Homeless World Cup, Mel Young,ahead of Wales's friendly clash with Spain yesterday evening.
Reacting to the news, Council leader, Cllr Huw Thomas said the city was already looking forward to hosting the event, which aims to change perceptions of homeless people while shining a light on the plight of homelessness.
Cllr Thomas, said: "We're really pleased that Cardiff will be hosting the Homeless World Cup next year for the first time. We have a strong track record of delivering major international sporting events and a fantastic visitor experience for people who come to the city for these occasions. I'm sure next year's tournament will be no different for the players and spectators from around the world. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Cardiff for the games.
"Hosting the Homeless World Cup though is about much more than putting on a successful sporting occasion. Cardiff is no different to many other UK cities, which have seen unprecedented rises in homelessness over recent years. So hosting the Homeless World Cup will be an opportunity for us to harness the power of football to make people think differently about homelessness and it will play a part in the wider conversation about how to deliver change which can help end homelessness."
The Council was a partner in the Welsh bid to host next year's competition which was spearheaded by Hollywood star Michael Sheen and social inclusion charity, Street Football Wales, which aims to improve the lives and opportunities for socially-excluded people in Wales through football.
Patron of Street Football Wales, Michael Sheen said: "Cardiff Council has been a pivotal partner in shaping the bid to bring the tournament to Wales. The events team are well known for delivering world class events and I am thrilled that this team is working with us on the Cardiff 2019 Homeless World Cup. Together we'll deliver an excellent football tournament and ensure we are positioned to tackle the other opportunities hosting the tournament provides us."
Every year, the Homeless World Cup Foundation delivers an inspirational week-long street football tournament that brings together more than 500 players representing more than 50 countries, all of whom have faced homelessness. Being involved in the game can bring structure to the lives of vulnerable individuals as well as helping them to build relationships and gain a sense of belonging.
This year's Homeless World Cup takes place in Mexico City next month when Wales will be represented by a men's and a women's team. Katherine Lewis, a resident at the Council's Ty Tresilian hostel in the city, was among the Mexico-bound players introduced to the crowd at the Principality Stadium by Michael Sheen last night.
Dates and venue for next year's Homeless World Cup will be confirmed early in the New Year.