Street Soccer Scotland receives praise from football superstar Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona (left) with Street Soccer founder and CEO David Duke

Football legend and actor Eric Cantona provided his support and inspiration to socially disadvantaged adults and young people across Scotland as the VIP guest at a major fundraising event in Glasgow.

The former Manchester United and France international player was guest of honour at the Street Soccer Scotland Annual Dinner held at the Hilton on Tuesday.

Following on from last year’s guest of honour Sir Alex Ferguson, Cantona player took to the stage where he talked about his colourful career and about his views on how football can make significant social change across the world to 500 guests from sport, business and politics.

Guests at the event included cabinet secretary for communities and local government Aileen Campbell MSP as well as ex-Celtic and Scotland star Murdo McLeod and ex-Rangers and England player Mark Hateley.

The event host was TV presenter David Tanner with entertainment provided by comedian Des Clark.

Street Soccer Scotland delivers a range of football related personal development and training programmes to socially disadvantaged adults and young people (including homelessness) across Scotland including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.

Eric Cantona joined by Scotland manager Alex McLeish

Highlighting the power of football for social change, Eric Cantona recently said in an interview with the Players’ Tribune website: “It is one of life’s great inspirations. But the current business model of football ignores so much of the world. Poor neighbourhoods need football as much as football needs poor neighbourhoods. We need to support a more sustainable, positive and inclusive football, and I will do anything that I can to help.”

David Duke, founder and CEO of Street Soccer Scotland, said: “Eric Cantona is a footballing legend that everyone remembers for his on and off pitch performances. He is a huge believer in the power of football for change wisely once said that everyone must wake up each morning with a goal in their heads and that fits perfectly with the ethos of Street Soccer Scotland.

“Very few people know this but he watched Scotland’s Homeless World Cup team in the first round in Copenhagen in 2007 and tipped them to go on and win the tournament. He was spot on and we returned home with the trophy for the first time.

“The men and women who attend our football sessions face daily challenges that include homelessness, mental and physical health issues, addiction, unemployment and social exclusion but football is at the heart of helping them to start to address those challenges. Making a positive difference to their lives has a positive impact on our communities and society.”

The event was sponsored by Barclays, Burness Paull, Edinburgh Airport, Scotch Beef and Stewart & Shields.

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