Josh Cavallo has revealed his apprehensions ahead of this year’s World Cup that will be held in Qatar.
Playing for Adelaide United in the A-League, Cavallo became the first active football player to officially come out as gay in October 2021.
The Australian spoke about his desire to represent his nation in the World Cup in Qatar, as well as his anxiety about travelling there as a gay man.
“If I represent Australia at the World Cup, and I’m giving it my all to make it, it would be an honour, but at the same time, the laws collide,” said Cavallo, in an interview with Sky Sports.
“I want to do something really good in my career. I’ve always dreamt of playing for my country in a World Cup, but do I want my life to be in danger?”
The Australian went one step further in his assertion that he might be respected given his status as an international footballer, believing that everybody should be treated as equal.
“I would definitely like to go to the World Cup, yes. I want to show that it’s okay for everybody. It’s not just okay for Josh Cavallo because he’s a soccer player and he’s protected, I want it to be okay for anyone,” Cavallo said.
Cavallo aspires to serve as a role model for those who experience oppression in nations where being gay is considered to be a crime.
“In all my messages there are many people from those countries who have to escape to be able to live freely and be themselves. I hope this will change in the future, because it’s not right the way it is now. It’s something we can turn around,” Cavallo added.
Reactions and support for his announcement
Additionally, Cavallo discussed the past few months and the response to his coming out from the football community.
“Honestly, it’s been amazing to see how the world reacted and basically gave me a big hug,” Cavallo revealed.
“It feels like a long time ago, it feels like five years ago to me because I live my days so fully now. It’s been absolutely incredible.The messages from football stars, icons like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, [Antoine] Griezmann and [Jesse] Lingard.
“When I was younger, I would wake up to watch them play very early in the morning, so it’s nice to see these straight athletes come up and say, ‘Hey, Josh, it’s okay.'”
In December 2021, Nasser Al-Khater, the head of the Qatari organising committee for the 2022 World Cup, discussed the possibility of Cavallo playing at the World Cup.
“We welcome him and invite him to come and see the country before the World Cup,” Al-Khater said.
“No one feels threatened here. I think this perception of danger is due to the multiple accusations and news that give a negative picture of the country.”
In the same interview, however, he gave a warning.
“Homosexuality is not allowed. Public displays of affection are frowned upon and this applies to everyone,” he said.