Entertainment & Arts

Michael Sheen 'put it all on the line' for Homeless World Cup

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Media captionSheen said he had given "everything" to make sure the Homeless World Cup went ahead

Michael Sheen has revealed he made a substantial financial contribution to ensure this year's Homeless World Cup went ahead as scheduled in Cardiff.

He said he felt he had little choice but to "put it all on the line" after funding fell short late on.

"We got into a bit of a state so I essentially put everything I have into this," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The Welsh actor and activist said he "earned good money" and would work more to cover his costs.

"You either commit to this stuff or you don't," he declared to 5 Live's Nihal Arthanayake on Tuesday.

Asked if he was "scaling back" his acting work, the Damned United star responded: "Well, I was.

"But now I've got to pay for this, so I'm going to have work a bit more now, because this has cost me more than I expected."

Image caption Players warm up at Cardiff's Bute Park

Event organiser Mel Young told the BBC it costs around £2m each year to put on the Homeless World Cup, some of which comes from European football governing body UEFA.

Young said Sheen's commitment was "phenomenal". "I can't describe it," he continued. "Words are not enough. It's brilliant what he's done."

Speaking in the Welsh capital, Sheen added his high-profile acting career had afforded him a position of relative luxury compared to the 500 people taking part.

"I have the opportunity to earn money," he continued. "At this point I can work as much as I want.

"I figured, if I'm not prepared to give it all away... what am I doing? I'm just a hypocrite.

"I was not going to let 500 people not have this opportunity [and] have their lives changed," he went on. "That was not going to not happen."

First held in Austria in 2003, the Homeless World Cup aims to use football to inspire homeless people to change their lives and to change public perceptions of homelessness too.

Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield and singer Charlotte Church are among the Welsh acts performing at this year's event, which runs until 3 August.

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