News 2021 Homeless World Cup cancelled due to ongoing impact of COVID-19

Cambodia will not be sending a team to compete in the 2021 Homeless World Cup (HWC) after the global sports event was cancelled for the second straight year.

The HWC pointed to the fact that the planning of large sporting events – either nationally or internationally continues to face huge uncertainty, given different countries’ stages of infection, treatment and vaccination.

It requires, at the very least, six months to organise the annual event. The HWC’s intention last year to plan for multi-year hosts was very much delayed due to COVID-19 pressures. While the HWC has some strong potential hosts for 2022/2023/2024, it is ‘unrealistic’ for them to move forward with a host city for 2021, according to the announcement.

Cambodian team for 2020 Homeless World Cup in Finland as pictured in February 2020. Same team due to attend 2021 HWC. Image Supplied

The Homeless World Cup is deeply saddened about the cancellation of our global football event this year, due to the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19. We sincerely hope that many of our partners, including HFCA in Cambodia can turn this into an opportunity to strengthen their relationships with HWC partners in neighbouring countries, with both on-line exchanges, and maybe later in the year- in person, if travel restrictions allow.

- Zoe Hopkins, International Partnerships Manager, Homeless World Cup
Cambodian goalkeeper gives his all at 2016 Homeless World Cup in Scotland. Image Supplied

HFCA has already informed the team of this decision. Three of the players are from Siem Reap province, two from Kandal province and one each from the provinces of Kampot, Prey Veng and Takeo. The team was due to be coached by manager Kimhong Thong. Thong also coached the team that competed in the 2019 HWC in the United Kingdom.

I feel very sorry for our eight players who have now missed out for two years in a row. Having taken Cambodian teams to 11 previous HWCs it must be very frustrating for them not to follow in the footsteps of their friends. HFCA's focus for the rest of 2021 is to strengthen our domestic in-country football programmes as it is looking very unlikely we can take any of our football teams overseas this year.

- Paraic Grogan, founder of HFCA
Cambodian goalkeeper Ream faces up to the might of Germany at 2017 HWC in Oslo, Norway. Image Supplied.

Sedtha Long, founder of HFCA partner Build your Future Today (BFT), said they were also saddened by the turn of events. The BFT has been HFCA’s partner in Siem Reap since 2014.

“As an active supporter of the HWC since 2014, Build your Future Today is very sad to hear of the cancellation of the 2021 tournament but completely in agreement with the decision at this time. BFT has seen the tremendous benefits of the HWC firsthand through the participation of a number of the young people we support. We wish the HWC organisers every success in their efforts for the 2022 event,” Long stressed.

The ongoing pandemic also caused the cancellation of the 2020 HWC, which was supposed to be held in Finland from June 28 to July 5.

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