The emergence and transformations of the world cup for the homeless: from the excitement of soccer to managerial decisions between 2003 and 2012

Michaël Attali, Jonathan Magee, Fernando Segura M Trejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review


An international football-soccer tournament was initiated for socially excluded homeless individuals in July 2003 and has been held ever since, growing annually in terms of size, competing delegations, media attention and corporate involvement. The aim of the paper is to analyze the initial, historical, journey of this World Cup from its conceptual formation until the end of its first decade (2003-2012). The paper looks particularly at the efforts involved in bringing the concept to life and the challenges the organizers faced before achieving the annual frequency of an event dedicated for wider social purposes. However, also discussed is the use of competitive football formats and the organization of the competition for male and female players. As the tournament has become more successful, it is argued that its overall aim of proposing tools beyond sport for homeless people has been displaced in certain ways. The management orientations, the focus on the trophies, images of excitement, and the corporate agendas have brought sensitive contradictions to its principles of inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1129
Number of pages19
JournalThe International Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Challenges
  • Changes
  • Football
  • Homeless cup
  • Sport events
  • Trends

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