As the clock ticks down on what is set to be another record breaking transfer window, you’d be forgiven for getting caught up in the hullabaloo of the modern day football circus.
After all there is little escape from Sky Sports’ rolling news coverage and its perpetual scenes of reporters jostling for a glimpse of a club’s new multi-million pound signing in the latest transfer exclusive.
But over in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, an eight day football tournament with a difference is well underway and this year is set to be bigger than ever.
This year’s Homeless World Cup will see 570 homeless men and women from 54 countries across the world compete in a celebration of street football.
Connected by their love for simply playing the game, the tournament uses the power of football as a force for good to tackle homelessness. It has always amazed me how sport has a transcendental quality to transform lives for the better. The direct impact of the Homeless World Cup has on people’s lives is nothing short of remarkable.
An astonishing 94 per cent of players surveyed after the tournament last year in Glasgow said the event had a positive effect on their lives while an estimated £10m in social capital was generated from helping people off the street and into employment.
If you’re wondering how football can bring about positive change there are many benefits for a person who is homeless getting involved with the sport.
As well as developing relationships and learning to trust teammates, street football can also improve aspects of a person’s life such as regaining self-esteem, improving health and well-being and reconnecting them with friends and family.
The impact of this year’s tournament will also be far-reaching.
Not only are an estimated 3 million people set to tune in to the tournament which is being streamed live on YouTube, an innovative Fairtrade partnership between the Homeless World Cup Foundation and sports co-operative Bala Sport will ensure that an often forgotten army of men and women making footballs in Pakistan will also benefit by receiving fair rates of pay, safer working conditions and access to union representation.
This year Stripe is proud to be able to lend a hand to the Homeless World Cup Foundation supporting the charity to raise the national and international profile of this inspirational event.
So next time you refresh your Twitter feed this transfer deadline day to see if your club has bought anyone half decent, instead why not take the time to see how your nation is performing in the Homeless World Cup.
For more information or to donate and help to change the lives of homeless people around please visit www.homelessworldcup.org.