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  1. ITV Report

Homeless World Cup in Mexico offers hope for rough sleeping footballers

The competition gives participants hope and the opportunity to shape a new life for themselves. Credit: Homeless World Cup

Almost 500 people from 42 nations are taking part in the Homeless World Cup in the Mexican capital.

The competition gives participants hope and the opportunity to shape a new life for themselves.

After the first day Mexico and the US are joined at the top of the women's competition having each played and won two matches.

England is in fifth ranking within the women's table with three points.

In the men's competition, Mexico, Portugal, Brazil, Hungary, Bosnia, Ireland and Chile are all tied with six points.

The football tournament is taking place until Sunday November 18.

It has been running since 2003 and has transformed the lives of 1.2 million people.

Mel Young, who co-founded the event with Harald Schmied in 2001 said more must be done to tackle homelessness and football can play a significant part in that fight.

An estimated 100 million people are homeless worldwide, while as many as 1.6 billion lack access to adequate housing, according to the Homeless World Cup Foundation.

Mr Young hopes football can take a lead role in tackling the problem.

He said: "Sport and football in particular has real power to change lives and the Homeless World Cup has over the years been a hugely powerful example of this.

Peru fans at the Homeless World Cup in Mexico. Credit: Homeless World Cup

Mr Young added: "This event is underpinned by the huge commitment of volunteers and supporters all around the world whose dedication has made the Homeless World Cup possible.They deserve enormous credit."

"But the real heroes are the players themselves who have used football to transform their lives."

He said: "The journey they have been on has been difficult and sometimes impossible, but they have proved everyone wrong and are now here in Mexico City representing their respective countries.

"Each and every one of them are heroes and I salute them all."