Chile hosts South American tournament against homophobia
Over the next two days, 100 players from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay will be challenging homophobia and raising awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases at the South American Football For Diversity Perla del Norte Cup.
The fourth edition of the tournament, which is taking place for the first time in Antofagasta, Northern Chile, between 15-17 January, counts with the participation of nine teams, including the Chilean Gapef, Celeste, Cóndores, Egalitariam, Gladys Marín, Rancagua, Cóndores Recoleta and Campeonato Puma Soccer, and two other from Argentina and Uruguay.
The initiative, organised by Pumas Soccer, is as part of the Chilean Government and the Council's campaign 'No to discrimination', launched in 2013, and conveys a message of respect and acceptance of what is different and particular about each person, while promoting sport for a healthy lifestyle and inclusion.
"This is an opportunity to show everyone's willingness to fight discrimination specially in football, a sport in which we see discrimination on the terraces taking place on a daily basis. We want to help make the different and show that football is just about passion." said Juan Guerra Michea, a representative of the organising team.
Jonathan Martinez, a player of Celeste Uruguay said: "Our team has received great support in Uruguay, our good results also helped, but the most important here is this message of acceptance and inclusion that we are trying to send across. And also, trying to help the neighbouring countries promote these discussions, because we know Chile is a bit more conservative on these matters."
Along with the tournament, information stands will distribute educational materials on sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
The anti-discrimination tournament is being held five months ahead of the 2015 Copa America, which Chile will also host. In November 2014, two racist incidents in football caused an outcry in the country and questioned how the issues around discrimination in football have been address by the Chilean authorities.
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