Homeless World Cup for Cape Town in 2006

Just a few months from now, the soccer World Cup kicks off in Cape Town –

– What!?? –

screech SA Blog’s legion readers. Particularly those who’ve already bought their non-refundable plane tickets to Berlin, and paid their hefty accommodation deposits. (And also those who abstained from voting for South Africa during the 2006 World Cup bid process, thus handing the event to Germany, i.e., Charles Dempsey, may his name roast forever in the fiery annals of infamy.)

Well, it’s quite true, folks: the World Cup is coming to Cape Town in 2006. The Homeless World Cup, it should at this point further be clarified.

What is the Homeless World Cup?

It’s a global poverty-fighting initiative pioneered by the International Network of Streetpapers (INSP), which brings individuals from the world’s homeless communities – all of whom earn a living by selling streetpapers like The Big Issue – together for a week of fun, community-building, global-poverty-awareness-raising, and, of course, competitive streetsoccer. The yearly event first kicked off in Graz, Austria, in 2003, and has since visited Gothenburg, Sweden and Edinburgh, Scotland. The champions from those tournaments were, respectively, Austria, Italy, and Italy once again.

The HWC opens in Cape Town on 23 September 2006, hosted by The Big Issue South Africa. The tournament’s vital stats:



  • Over 30 countries expected to participate; each continent represented.
  • Almost 50 teams competing for top honours (taking into account that many countries have more than one streetpaper).
  • Direct benefit for participants: of the 204 HWC players in 2004, 78 have moved into regular jobs, 16 have signed with football clubs or work as coaches, and 95 have improved their housing situations.

To participate in the Homeless World Cup, all you need to do is buy a streetpaper. Vendors make an honest living doing what they do – support one today! Alternatively, donate to the HWC directly, or purchase an item from its online shop.

SA Blog will follow the build-up to HWC 2006 in Cape Town closely – bookmark the Homeless World Cup tag to keep up to date.

Guide to HWC streetsoccer rules (from www.streetsoccer.org):

Soccer Court Proportions

Size of court: 20 (long) x 14 (wide) meters
Goal size: 4 m b x 1,30 m height, depth approx. 1 m
Green: halfcircle with 4 m radius, green layer
Height of boards: 1,10 m
Net: behind both goal-sides is a net of 3m height
Ground: stone and concrete (plane surface)
Referee: high chair for referee outside the court (like tennis)
Place for players: 2 players benches at the long side of court
Entrance for players: 2 separate entrances at the long side
Size of ball: norm size 5

1.) Participants
Teams may be composed of either all men-players, all-female players or mixed teams.
Maximum of 4 players per team on the court:
– 3 field players,
– 1 goalkeeper
– plus 4 substitution players (flying exchange of players).
The number of players of each team must not exceed 8 players. The players’ names must be named to the tournament overhead before the start of the tournament.

2.) Duration of 1 match:
2 x 7 minutes including changing of sides

3.) Start:
The match starts by the time the referee enters the ball into the field. Once a goal is scored against a team, this team will get the ball and the goalkeeper will be allowed to bring the ball back in immediately after the referee’s whistle.

4.) Goal Keeper Rules:
a) A goalkeeper must not score a goal.
b) The goalkeeper must not leave the penalty area.
c) The goalkeeper must not hold the ball longer than necessary in his penalty area (“playing for time”).
d) A goalkeeper must not pick up the ball with his hands when he receives a back pass from a player of his own team. If he does, the other teams gets a penalty.

5.) Rules for Penalty Area:
a) Field players must not enter the penalty area offensively nor defensively (“fishing for the ball” is not allowed).
b) If a player of the defending team enters the penalty area, the other team gets a penalty kick.
c) If a player of the offending team enters the penalty area, the other team gets a free kick.

6.) Penalty Rules:
A penalty for the opposing team is given when
a) a player of the defending team enters the penalty area
b) when a team passes back three times in a row directly to the own goalkeeper to cheat on time (without that a player from the opposing team has had a chance to touch the ball )
c) if the goal keeper holds the ball longer than necessary in his penalty area (“playing for time”)
d) if the goalkeeper picks up the ball with his hands when he receives a back pass from a player of his own team.
e) A penalty can be given because of
– foul play in front of the goal area.
f) A penalty kick is performed as a player may kick towards the goal. If he moves backwards from the goal the penalty is lost.

7.) Rules for free kicks and outballs:
a) All free kicks must be performed indirectly. All players of the opposing team must have a minimum distance of 2 meters from the ball at the freekick point.
The referee will decide for a free kick
– in case of all fouls on the field except for those offenses, which are seen as “penalty offenses”
– if a player holds the board with both hands
b) If a ball goes into side out over the board the ball must be rolled in by hand at ground level at the position where the ball went into the out. All players of the opposing team must have a minimum distance of 2 meters from the ball at the roll-in point.
c) If a ball goes into out on the goal sides
– by the attacking team: goalkeeper gets the ball and kicks or throws the ball back in.
– by the defending team: the attacking team gets a corner and rolls the ball in by hand at ground level. All players of the opposing team must have a minimum distance of 2 meters from the roll-in corner.

8.) Fouls:
If played foul or unfair the referee may judge as follows:
a) Blue card (two minutes time exclusion): If ignoring rules, a player can be excluded from the match for two minutes. The team has to play with one player less. Goals scored by the opposing team do not terminate the exclusion before time is over.
b) Red card (match penalty): When heavily ignoring rules or for rough fouls, a player is excluded from the rest of the match. The team has to play with one player less for the remaining match. The player, who got the red card has to pause also for the next match.
c) Exclusion from the tournament for a team:
If rules are dramatically ignored (heavy foul play, foul play on purpose, unacceptable behaviour on the court towards the referees, the audience or other players), one player or all players of a team can be excluded from the tournament. If a whole team is excluded from the tournament all played and already scheduled games in the recent group of that team are interchanged (to 0:3).

9.) Tournament points:

The winning team gets 3 points. The losing team zero. If a match ends in a draw, it is decided by penalty shootout until one team leads with one goal difference.
In this case the winning team gets three points and the loosing team gets one point.

10.) Criteria within group:

a) points
b) goal difference (scored – received)*
c) number of scored goals
d) direct match
* Goals scored in penalty shoot-outs do not count for goal difference.