The Duke of Cambridge has joined Pope Francis and other well-known figures in backing a football tournament for underprivileged young people in Brazil.

Prince William, the president of the Football Association, has voiced his support for the Street Children World Cup 2014, which started in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.

David Beckham, Pele and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are backing the Save the ­Children-linked event, which brings together street children to give them a platform and campaign for their rights.

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Brazil plays host to the 2014 World Cup, which starts in Sao Paulo on June 12.

The Duke said: "This fantastic tournament shines a spotlight on the 100 million children around the world living on the streets. It unites them through the universal language of football, and gives them a global platform to be heard."

The 10-day event will involve 230 children aged 14 to 17 from 19 countries, and includes a festival of arts and a global street children's conference, which will culminate in the "Rio Rights Declaration".