Josh Cavallo ‘very scared’ to play at Qatar World Cup after coming out as gay

The Adelaide United left-back has reservations about playing for Australia if selected due to Qatar’s ban on homosexuality

Jack Rathborn
Monday 08 November 2021 12:36

Josh Cavallo, the world’s only current top-flight footballer to come out as gay, admits he is “very scared” to play at the 2022 World Cup due to Qatar’s ban on homosexuality.

The emirate has a range of legal penalties for homosexuality, from flogging to lengthy prison terms and execution, which has led the Adelaide United left-back to consider whether he would play for Australia should they qualify and select the 21-year-old.

Cavallo came out as gay last month, sparking overwhelming support from the football community for his emotional video that stated how he has grown “exhausted” trying to live a double-life.

But despite football’s administrators campaigning for LGBT+ fans and culture in the sport, Fifa has opted to take its showpiece tournament to Russia, where homophobia has been labelled a ‘state-sponsored’ project, with Qatar next.

And Cavallo, who has featured for Australia Under-20s, has conceded he fears for his safety should he participate in Qatar.

“I read something along the lines of that [they] give the death penalty for gay people in Qatar, so it’s something I’m very scared [of] and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for that,” Cavallo told the Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast.

“And that saddens me. At the end of the day the World Cup is in Qatar and one of the greatest achievements as a professional footballer is to play for your country.

“And to know that this is in a country that doesn’t support gay people and puts us at risk of our own life, that does scare me and makes me re-evaluate – is my life more important than doing something really good in my career?”

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