UEFA has awarded its annual CHF 1m (€649,000) charity cheque to ProPoor Sports, an organisation which promotes street football as a tool for reducing the social marginalisation of the homeless. The award was presented to ProSport representatives at the annual UEFA gala event in Monaco, staged to get the new season under way.
Street Soccer World Cup
The cheque will help ProPoor Sports expand its organisation of the annual Homeless Street Soccer World Cup - a competition which has come into being in recent years as a popular street football event, and which has already received UEFA's full support.
"We're absolutely thrilled to be receiving this award," said ProPoor Sports CEO Mel Young, who is also director of the Homeless Street Soccer World Cup. "This is an incredibly positive move by UEFA in an area where social responsibility and grassroots football meet. UEFA's donation will magnify the impact of the work being undertaken."
Previous Homeless Street Soccer World Cups have taken place in Graz (2003) and Gothenburg (2004), and this year's event took place in Edinburgh during the summer. Click here for coverage of the event.
Plans for expansion
Having successfully launched the initiative, ProPoor Sports is planning to expand the tournament over the period from 2006-08, doubling the number of teams to include 64 countries and increase the number of players involved in the qualifying process from 5,000 in 2005 to up to 38,000 in 2008.
Developed in co-operation with the International Network of Street Papers, and in some cases partnered with football clubs, the project aims to improve the self-esteem of players and their acceptance by the public. An evaluation of the competition's participants showed that two-thirds of them had made significant progress towards integration.
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