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Rome Reports

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First Homeless World Cup, Milan 2009

It’s a one of a kind sports initiative with a social message that began in 2002. This year, the Homeless World Cup is set to take place in Milan in September of this year. Rome held an exhibition game to raise awareness ABOUT homelessness. ;Mel YoungCo-founder & President of Homeless World CupThe real aim for us is to get people not to be homeless anymore. So, what happens is they get involved in football, involved in the teams and then they change.”Marcel DesaillyFormer World Cup Champion (France)"Imagine tomorrow we stop football in the world. Can you imagine? People would feel upset, people would feel that they’re missing something"Former French soccer star Marcel Desailly came to Rome to play in the exhibition game. A World Cup champion himself, Desailly says soccer is a creative way of getting people off the streets.Marcel DesaillyFormer French Soccer PlayerDuring the game the guys were happy. The guys were having discipline, they were kind of, forgotten about the reality of their lives. Just for that, it brings some kind of hope and positivity to their own lives, and it avoid them also from going to get drugs, or anything, you know, because they are healthy.”Milan will play host to 500 homeless players representing 48 countries around the world. The Homeless World Cup says about 70% of those who participate in the tournament change their lives for good.In Rome, organizations like the Ccatholic one, the Community of Sant’Egidio are active in tending to the homeless community often made up of refugees and children from other parts of Europe. They forge what they call “friendships with the poor.”RSS