The 2019 Homeless World Cup is coming to Britain

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It all kicks off in just over two months

We've just witnessed one of the best season's of all-time, and while it's not over just yet, with the hugely anticipated FA Cup final this Saturday, followed by the EFL play-offs and Champions League final at the end of the month, this summer we're all going to really miss our beloved sport, aren't we?

England will of course be present at June's UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal, which will undoubtedly whip our expectant nation into a football-infused frenzy, then it's the turn of Phil Neville's Lionesses, as they travel to France for the Women's World Cup, looking to better 2015's third-place finish in Canada.

What you probably won't know, though, is that there is another World Cup taking place this summer, and it's in the UK. The 2019 Homeless World Cup will take place in Cardiff's iconic Bute Park, right in the heart of the Welsh capital, between July 27 - August 3.

Over 500 players, from over 60 different countries will make their way to Wales this summer, hoping to bring home the trophy in what is set to become one of the most inspiring Homeless World Cup tournaments to date. This summer's competition will be the 17th edition of the HWC, and feature 64 teams from around the globe. There will be six trophies up for grabs in total - four for the Men's/Mixed teams competing, and two for the Women's.

Award winning actor and Welsh national Michael Sheen led the bid for Cardiff to host this summer's tournament. Alongside the Homeless World Cup Foundation, the competition will be delivered by Cardiff City Council, Cardiff University, Cardiff City FC Foundation, FA Wales, Pobl Group, Office of Michael Sheen, Working Word, Green Man Festival, The Bevan Foundation, PYST and Street Football Wales.

So, what exactly is the Homeless World Cup?

The Homeless World Cup is a charity which uses football as an inspiration for people suffering with homelessness. The charity's aim is to help people change their lives through the power of the beautiful game, whilst also changing the public's perception of homelessness and all of the issues surrounding it. Over 70 Street Football Partner worldwide support the project, delivering a yearly, top-quality international football tournament for national teams of both men and women who find themselves on the street.

The 2019 Homeless World Cup will aim to deliver a long-lasting legacy in Cardiff, which will in turn help to tackle homelessness in the city and Wales as a whole. The whole point of the competition is to try and change people's perception/understanding of homelessness, while also looking to provide competitors with employment opportunities both before and after the tournament.

There won't just be football on show, either. Alongside the main event, there will be plenty of live music, street food and public speaking talks. The Green Man Festival will host a stage with a line-up containing some of Wales' hottest music acts, while a debate tent hosted in collaboration with the independent think tank - The Bevan Foundation - will also provide a space for high profile speakers and the public to engage and educate on issues around inequality and injustice and work towards innovative solutions.

How does football help people who are homeless?

Homelessness forces people into isolation, which affects their ability to share, communicate, and work with others. When a person who is homeless gets involved in football, they build relationships and become team-mates who learn to trust and share.

They have a responsibility to attend training sessions and games, to be on time, and to be prepared to participate. They feel that they are part of something larger than themselves. The sense of empowerment that comes from participating in street football helps people who are homeless see that they can change their lives.

Football also improves other aspects of a person's life, such as physical health and self-esteem, and experience has shown that it is an effective way of engaging people who are homeless who have not responded to other methods of intervention.

It's not just people literally sleeping on the street that the HWC define as homeless, it's also people staying in hostels, shelters and temporary accommodation, sofa surfing, people who find themselves living in insecure housing with little to no legal rights, people in inadequate/unsafe housing or people at risk of violence/abuse in their own home.

In Cardiff alone, the council said that there were 638 households in temporary accommodation, and 70 people sleeping rough. There is a massive issue surrounding homelessness not just in Cardiff, or Wales, but in Britain as a whole - this tournament is just the start of a project the foundation hopes will kickstart something really positive surrounding this issue.

For more information regarding the 2019 Homeless World Cup in Cardiff - visit the official website here: https://homelessworldcup.org/

What's more, FootyAccumulators are actually going to be attending the tournament in July, bringing you some great coverage of this fantastic competition. Keep your eyes peeled for more!

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