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Gay & Lesbian World Cup Opens in Buenos Aires
Reuters, September 21st, 2007 6PM

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As the Women's World Cup quarterfinals wrap up this weekend, another world championship will open its doors a thousand miles away. For the first time ever, Latin America will play host to the gay soccer world cup when it kicks off this weekend in Buenos Aires. We use lower-case letters when referring to the tournament because it's not officially sponsored by FIFA, soccer's world governing body.

However, it is being sponsored by AFA, the Argentine Soccer Association, which will provide facilities for the games. Twenty-eight teams from several cities -- rather than countries -- across the globe will play in the weeklong competition, including New York, San Francisco, London, Manchester, Paris, Buenos Aires and Mexico City. The tournament is hosted by the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association.

Soccer is often noted as a discriminatory sport. About a month ago, a Brazilian judge shamed a Brazilian league player who sought damages for homophobic-related slander, saying that gays do not belong in professional soccer. Brazil, incidentally, is not sending a team to the championships in Buenos Aires. "The sports world is very homophobic, very discriminatory and soccer is a prime example," said Cesar Cigliutti, president of the Argentine Homosexual Community gay advocacy group. "That's exactly why these championships were born."

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