Glasgow & West Scotland

George Square transformed for Homeless World Cup

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Media captionReferee Ian McGill says the aim is to raise awareness of homelessness

Glasgow's George Square is being transformed into a tournament arena as it prepares for the Homeless World Cup.

The event, which runs from 10 to 16 July, features 48 men's and 16 women's teams from 52 countries.

Three football pitches and seating for 3,500 spectators is being built in George Square, ready for the 14th year of the cup.

Scotland last hosted the tournament in 2005, in Edinburgh. The first took place in Graz, Austria, in 2003.

The aim of the competition is to inspire homeless people to change their lives.

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

Scotland's men take on Hong Kong with the women's team playing against Norway in their opening fixtures of the competition.

The matches follow the opening ceremony which starts at 12:30 on Sunday.

The Scotland teams are managed, selected and coached by social enterprise Street Soccer Scotland. They include players from across Scotland picked after a series of selection days throughout the year.

Free entry

Ally Dawson, manager of Team Scotland, said: "The Homeless World Cup is a very special event for everyone involved and being host nation brings an added honour.

"The men's and women's squads have been training very hard over recent weeks in preparation for the start of the tournament.

Every year the Scottish teams are determined to do their country proud but this year has an added edge as they look forward to playing in front of what will be a very noisy home support."

Scotland's men's team won the tournament for the first time in Denmark in 2007 and again in Paris in 2011. The women's team finished 5th in Paris in 2011 and 7th last year in Amsterdam.

About 100,000 spectators are expected to come to watch matches during the week-long tournament. Entry is free and no tickets are required.

Image copyright Homeless World Cup
Image caption Artist impression of a transformed George Square for the Homeless World Cup

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