AN INTERNATIONAL football tournament featuring more than 450 players who have experienced homelessness has been cancelled.

The Homeless World Cup Foundation said its 2021 competition, the location of which had not yet been confirmed, has been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

The annual five-aside tournament includes more than 40 national men's and women's teams in their country's official kit, with the aim to support people who are homeless and change perceptions and attitudes towards homelessness.

In 2019 the Wales squad featured players from North Wales including a 24-year-old dad from Colwyn Bay, who at the time was 'sofa surfing' while waiting for permanent accommodation, and a Llandudno man who had experienced periods of homelessness from a young age.

Mel Young, president and co-founder of the Homeless World Cup Foundation, said: “Whilst the swift development of a number of vaccines to tackle the global Covid-19 pandemic gives us hope for the future, the uncertainty around international travel and delivering a major event whilst the pandemic is ongoing has led us to this decision.

“This will doubtless be disappointing to many, but we are confident it is the right decision for the safety of our participants, partners, and the public at this time.

“As always, our commitment to using football as a way to tackle homelessness remains our core objective and we will continue to work tirelessly in conjunction with all of our global partners to end homelessness.”

The week-long tournament, held in Finland last year, attracts thousands of visitors and millions of online viewers.

The bidding process remains open for the for the location of the 2022 Homeless World Cup, as well as the 2023 and 2024 events.