Tampere, Finland to host the 2020 Homeless World Cup

Tampere, Finland will play host to the 18th edition of the Homeless World Cup, which will take place in late June 2020.

More than 500 players will travel to Finland’s second largest city to play in the week-long football festival that harnesses the power of sport to transform the lives of people experiencing homelessness and social exclusion.

“Bringing the Homeless World Cup to Finland has been our target for several years,” said Perttu Pesa, local organising committee (LOC) president and Tampere city’s director of major events.

“We have strong co-operation with Finnish NGOs like the Salvation Army, the Deaconess Institute, and the Nauha Association NGO. We are working together with the city, and it brings us new tools for the future as a legacy.”

Finnish Homeless Academy manager Ari Huldèn has been working with the academy since 2006 and understands the power of football to change people’s lives.

Ari Holden, HWC co-founder Mel Young, and Michael Sheen at the handover ceremony

“I know how football can give a new opportunity and way to live your life. There was a time when I was one of them, and giving back the thing that I got is my mission,” he said. “It’s great to get this festival of new beginning to Finland and Tampere.”

Mel Young, co-founder of the Homeless World Cup Foundation said: “We’re really excited to bring the tournament to Tampere. We believe the city and its people will welcome our players and event with open arms and will help us impact the lives and change perceptions of even more people.”

The second largest regional area in Finland after capital Helsinki, Tampere is the most populous inland Nordic city. 160km north of Helsinki, it has a metropolitan population of approximately 240,000 and a regional population of over half a million.

More than one million people worldwide have had their lives positively impacted by the Homeless World Cup and its programmes since the first tournament in Graz, Austria in 2003. Recent hosts of the annual tournament include Cardiff (Wales), Mexico City (Mexico), Oslo (Norway), Glasgow (Scotland), and Santiago (Chile).