Princes Street Gardens to host homeless football

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A five-day football festival coming to Princes Street Gardens this summer aims to help homeless and unemployed youths to turn their lives around by taking part.

The Edinburgh Street Football Festival will be held at the Ross Bandstand in June, with synthetic grass, a grandstand and a scoreboard.

Organised by the team behind the Homeless World Cup, matches will last 14 minutes each, with free entry for spectators.

Event director Scott Moncrieff said: “We’re looking to involve pretty much all different types of street people from different walks of life around the city in the event.

“For example, we’re looking to have a tournament for homeless people or 
unemployed youths. We are also speaking to the council regarding getting primary school and secondary school children involved.

“Footballing events like this give the homeless people something to aim for and a bit of motivation, and obviously a bit of confidence as well in terms of being able to perform in an open area with people watching them.”

Corporate teams will also be invited to participate in their own tournament, with entry fees going towards charities tackling homelessness. Each category will have up to 16 teams before the top four in each play-off for a winner’s trophy.

An exhibition match between Hearts and Hibs legends sides will also take place.

The official Homeless World Cup was held at the same location in 2005, with 27 countries participating.

Mr Moncrieff said: “The statistics we get back are phenomenal in terms of how just one event and how being part of a team can change somebody’s life.

“It gives them almost a boost that they need to maybe try and sort their lives out.”