The Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends on You – an international football tournament for orphans and street-connected children – will take place ahead of the FIFA World Cup, in Moscow, Russia, in May 2018. The event was announced yesterday at a Global Summit for street-connected children’s rights.
The event will be co-organised by UK charity Street Child United in association with Save the Children, and leading Russian telecoms operator “MegaFon”. The football tournament will bring together orphans and street-connected children to play on and unite off the field for the rights of all children at risk. The UN estimates there are up to 150 million street-connected children worldwide. The event aims to challenge the negative perception and treatment of children at risk across the world.
Paul Sunder Singh, head of Karunalaya Centre for street and working children in Chennai, India, which will take a team to the event, said:
“We hope that taking part in the event next year in Moscow will impact on the government and on everyone so that they will treat street children how they are supposed to be treated, with respect for their rights.”
There has been widespread approval for the initiative from Pope Francis, HRH Prince William and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They are not alone – the football world has also backed the event with support from Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Pele and David Beckham.
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said:
“The Street Child World Cup is at the heart of football, providing a level playing field to street children who have for too long been marginalised. I look forward to following the Street Child World Cup in 2018 when each young person, no matter their background, will tell the world: I am Somebody.”
Since 2005, “MegaFon” have organised the annual national “The Future Depends on You” football competition among teams of orphanages, engaging more than 30,000 children in 140 cities. “MegaFon” use football to create a platform for at risk children so that their voices are heard, and they can demonstrate their potential.
John Wroe, Street Child United CEO and co-founder, said,
“We are delighted to partner with “MegaFon” for the Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends on You. “MegaFon”’s track record of using football to create lasting change for at risk children mean they are a perfect partner for Moscow 2018. On the eve of the FIFA World Cup, we will level the playing field for some of the most marginalised children.”
“MegaFon” will invite four teams to participate in the Street Child World Cup, including a girls and boys team to represent Russia as hosts, alongside teams from Tajikistan and Belarus. They will be joined by teams from other countries including Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Egypt, England, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda, USA and Zimbabwe, with others to be confirmed.
Sergey Soldatenkov, MegaFon Chief Executive Officer (CEO), noted:
“Today the topic of football is as relevant as ever for our country: these days the FIFA Confederations Cup games are held in four cities of Russia, and next summer Russia, for the first time in its history, will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Since 2005 we are organising football tournament for orphans “The Future Depends on You”, to give every child at risk a chance to succeed and provide opportunity to create their own history. Next year this chance will be provided to children from 22 countries. We are grateful for the trust placed in us and we are very glad to co-operate with Street Child United. We are looking forward to welcoming the participants of the Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends on You in Moscow.”
During the event in Moscow, the young participants will be assisted by a team of international volunteers, including “MegaFon” employees.