Tackling prejudice: Argentina hosts inaugural Dwarf Copa America (PHOTOS/VIDEO)
Argentina has hosted the inaugural Dwarf Copa America in the country's capital Buenos Aires in a bid to expand inclusion to the beautiful game and tackle prejudice against players of short stature.
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Copa America Talla Baja Argentina 2018 was organized by the Argentine Talla Baja - Spanish for 'short size' - Civil Association and welcomed teams from the US, Canada, Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Morocco in the hope of raising awareness of and respect towards short players.
Paraguay won the tournament outright with a win over their Argentine hosts, bagging the first ever Dwarf Copa America title. Argentina had overcome huge rivals Brazil 2-1 in the semi-final, but couldn't find a win on home turf to claim the trophy.
The Talla Baja Civil Association describe themselves as "organizing ourselves in each country, to make a better world for us and also for others with love and solidarity." A player for the Brazil team said he had "never dreamed" of playing an organized match, or cup, involving players of short stature.
Argentina is hosting the first Dwarf Copa America with teams ranging from the US to Morocco - in an effort to battle discrimination. pic.twitter.com/xJ26oUqGM6— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 30, 2018
Facundo Rojas, captain of Argentina spoke of his enthusiasm for the concept. "We belong to the most discriminated against group in the world. We have managed to change that, to show what we are capable of - to play football, to work and to study," he said.
The Dwarf Copa America might be one small step in football, but is represents a giant leap in equality for football players of short stature.