"The Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup is set in one of the most soccer-passionate cities and nations in the world," Mel Young
, the tournament's founder and president, said in a statement.
"This is a phenomenal opportunity for Italy and the city of Milan to unite and show the world the true, awesome power of soccer to change lives, to change the world."
Homeless World Cup, to take place from Sept 6-13, will include 500 players from 48 countries - from Argentina to Brazil, England to Germany, Australia to Cambodia, Hong Kong to India, Ghana to
Malawi. Afghanistan won last year's competition. Italy has won the tournament twice and will look to make it a hat trick at a new street soccer stadium that will be built at Arena Civic, Sempione
Park, the location for Italy's first international in 1910.
Organizers also say that, after playing in the tournament, more than 70 percent of past participants transformed their lives:
finding stable residences, giving up drugs and alcohol, and getting jobs and education.
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