Homeless World Cup kicks off in Milan
The match draw for the 7th Milan Homeless World Cup was held on Saturday as part of the City of Milan's official welcome party held in the design museum of Milan, Triennale.
Italy versus Ghana kicked off the event today, joined by the Italian Minister of Sport and Minister of Defence.
48 nations representing all five continents of the globe were united for the first time for the international football tournament that will deliver a week of spirit and glory from 6-13 September 2009.
Mel Young, Founder & President, Homeless World Cup, on seeing the players for the first time together, said: "It is beautiful to see you all. I am so happy and glad that you are all here. Welcome.
"This year it has been difficult to put on the Event against the backdrop of the economic climate. Many sporting events have been cancelled. The Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup goes on because of the determination of the City of Milan and the local organisers. They will not let homeless people be forgotten. We salute you and thank you.
Turning to the players Young said: "Now it is up to you. You are ambassadors for your country. You are leaders. The world's media is watching. Show them what you can do. Stand proud. Have a fantastic tournament. Together we are changing the world."
Other key games today (Sunday 6 September):
12.55pm Scotland v Holland
1.45pm Russia v England
3.25pm Wales v Japan
3,50pm Switzerland v Costa Rica
4.15pm Spain v Ivory Coast
4.40pm Poland v Ireland, kicked off by Dariusz Dsziekanowski
The Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup is supported by the City of Milan, Ministry of Defence, Red Cross, Cariplo Foundation, Inter Milan, Gazzetta dello Sport and it is one of the main events of the Milan European Capital of Sport 2009. International support comes from Nike, Vodafone Foundation, UEFA, United Nations, Global Ambassador Eric Cantona and international footballers Rio Ferdinand, Marcel Desailly and Didier Drogba.
Over 70% of players at the Homeless World cup experience a significant life change; coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into homes, jobs, education, training, repairing relationships, becoming coaches or players with semi-pro teams and social entrepreneurs. Since 2003 the Homeless World Cup has engaged over 100,000 players and has triggered football programmes in over 70 nations.
More information available at www.homelessworldcup.org