A key figure in the success of UEFA’s social responsibility partner Homeless World Cup, Harald Schmied, has passed away at the age of 50.
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The co-founder of UEFA’s long-standing social responsibility partner Homeless World Cup, Harald Schmied, has passed away at the age of 50.
The Austrian, who was diagnosed two years ago with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was a key figure in the success of a competition that has brought perspective to homeless people’s lives through football, and helped them get back into society.
Together with his fellow co-founder Mel Young, Harald Schmied had the idea at the turn of the millennium to host a world football championship for socially deprived groups. Their dedication eventually led to the Homeless World Cup being staged for the first time in Graz, Austria in 2003.
Since then, the Homeless World Cup – which received UEFA’s annual charity cheque in 2005 – has been a yearly event that has given fresh hope to thousands of players. UEFA has supported the Homeless World Cup since the initial event in 2003. The 2018 Homeless World Cup kicks off in Mexico City on 13 November.
Harald Schmied also set up Homeless World Cup Austria, which is today a flourishing body offering crucial support to homeless people through football. He received national honours in Austria for his lifelong commitment to social change.
UEFA has funded research into Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a severe neurological condition that causes the progressive loss of all muscle function. In 2012, the Borgonovo Foundation received UEFA’s charity cheque. The foundation was set up by Stefano Borgonovo, the former Milan and Fiorentina striker who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 42, with the aim of helping the thousands of ALS sufferers throughout the world. Borgonovo passed away in June 2013.