DAY 10: Saturday 10th August 2019
This is my tenth blog about the Homeless World Cup which has been taking place in Bute Park and has now reached its climax. It is a personal reflection or diary piece rather than a chronicle of events.
And so that’s it. In a flash, it is over. The 17th Homeless World Cup finished in a flourish with Mexico completing the double for the second year running by winning both the Men’s and Women’s Homeless World Cup. Mexico are deserved world champions.
But everyone is a winner at the Homeless World Cup. By the final day, teams are all playing for positions in six different Plate competitions in the men’s tournament and two in the Women’s. Each team wants to achieve as high a position as possible and there is intense competition, but all the players receive the same medal. The event is competitive yet inclusive. It is played in the way sport should be played. There has been a special spirit throughout this past week in Wales and it is fostered by the way the players conduct themselves. They are fabulous ambassadors for their country and indeed for humanity.
There have been some very moving moments and some brilliant football. We are all inspired.
We must thank all the players for working so hard to get to the position where they are representing their country. What they have achieved is really marvellous. Whilst we all must thank the players for their great efforts, there are hundreds of people to thank for making this event possible and in turn helping to provide a platform which will change people’s lives.
Let’ split this into two categories: local and international.
Thank you Wales. Thank you especially to Michael Sheen for his commitment and leadership in making this event happen in Wales and to his determination to build a lasting legacy. Thank you to the people of Cardiff for being so welcoming and friendly. Thank you Street Football Wales. Thank you to the local organising committee and the team behind them who have worked so hard to put this event on. Thank you to the local volunteers for your time and commitment. Thank you to all the performers on the stage and speakers in the Bevan Tent who added another dimension to this year’s event. At the Welsh end, thank you to anyone and everyone connected with making this year’s event so special. We love you, Wales.
Thank you world. Thank you to the staff at the Homeless World Cup headquarters. Thank you to the international volunteers who fly in – sometimes every year – and play a crucial part in the fabric of the event. Thank you to the partners and sponsors. Thank you to the managers, coaches and players from all the participating countries. From the international side, thank you to anyone and everyone who is connected with this network globally.
Thank you all.
It doesn’t matter how little or how much you have put in to helping make the Homeless World Cup so successful. The important thing is that you are doing something. That’s what’s important. If we all do something then we can change the world. In this modern connected world, we shouldn’t have any homelessness or extreme poverty. The Homeless World Cup shows that it is possible to change and we use football to create that change. We will continue to build this movement of using football and we won’t stop until the world has changed. Join in.
Wales will always be in our hearts but the journey goes on. It won’t necessarily be easy but if we keep working together then change will surely come. Next year we will be in Finland and we look forward to another festival of change-making and fabulous football. See you all there but keep up the great work in the meantime.