New look George Square unveiled for Homeless World Cup

image copyrightHomeless World Cup
image captionArtists impression of George Square during the Homeless World Cup

Three football pitches and seating for 3,500 spectators will be installed in George Square later this year when Glasgow hosts the Homeless World Cup.

The event, which is set to run from 10 to 16 July, will feature 48 men's and 16 women's teams from 52 countries.

Glasgow is hosting the 14th edition of the tournament. The first took place in Graz, Austria, in 2003, with Scotland last hosting in 2005, in Edinburgh.

The tournament's aim is to inspire homeless people to change their lives.

The Homeless World Cup was set up by the International Network of Street Papers and Mel Young, founder of the Big Issue in Scotland.

'Real celebration'

Mr Young said George Square would provide a "unique location" for the 2016 tournament.

"Our mission is to bring the tournament to the centre of the cities we visit, because homelessness isn't something that should be tucked away," he said.

"We need to talk about it, therefore being here was very important.

"The nature of the site means it's an interesting build which has involved a real multi-agency approach...but we're confident that when the wrappers come off for real in July, Glasgow will be amazed and ready to join a real celebration."

Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on George Square for the duration of the tournament.

'Global movement'

The venue will also be adapted to host music and merchandising.

Paul Bush, events director at VisitScotland, which is managing the Scottish government's investment in the tournament, said the Homeless World Cup was "an incredibly important event" for the country.

"It puts Scotland at the heart of a global movement and will ensure that the eyes of the world centre on Glasgow, which we believe will be the most inspiration place on the planet over the course of the tournament."

Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Archie Graham, added: "George Square will come alive as thousands of fans cheer on teams from across the globe during what is shaping up to me an inspiring and unmissable festival of football."

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