World’s First Openly Gay Footballer Expresses Fear For Life Playing In World Cup

Poppy Bilderbeck


Josh Cavallo Fears Over Qatar World Cup - Josh Cavallo/Instagram/AlamyJosh Cavallo/Instagram/Alamy

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has admitted his fears over playing in the 2022 World Cup following his coming out as gay.

The 21-year-old, who plays for Adelaide United, posted a moving video to Twitter on his football team’s account in which he shared his ‘truth’, having battled with his sexuality for ‘over six years now’.

Becoming the only current male professional footballer player to publicly come out as gay, Cavallo has now expressed his fears over playing at the World Cup in Qatar, because of the country’s harsh laws surrounding homosexuality.

Josh Cavallo Fears Over Qatar World Cup - @JoshuaCavallo/Twitter@JoshuaCavallo/Twitter

Fifa has come under fire for its decision to award the World Cup to countries such as Russia and Qatar, particularly after Russia branded homophobia as a ‘state-sponsored’ project, The Daily Mail reports.

Moreover, Cavallo admitted his dread over the 2022 World Cup, explaining how it ‘saddens’ him that Qatar still gives ‘the death penalty for gay people’, he told The Guardianvia its Today in Focus podcast.

He said:

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?

In Qatar, homosexual acts are banned, with Article 285 of the Penal code stating that sexual intercourse with a male is punishable with ‘up to seven years imprisonment’. Sharia Law, applicable to Muslims, threatens a possible death sentence for same-sex intimacy, as per the Human Dignity Trust

Newcastle’s new Saudi owners have also been criticised for their stance on homophobia, having been accused of ‘turning a blind eye’ and attempting to ‘sportswash’ the country’s human rights record.

David Beckham recently became an ambassador and the ‘face’ of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, but faced backlash because of the country’s homophobic and sexist attitudes.

However, in signing the £150 million deal over 10 years, Beckham claimed that the country has promised all fans will be treated well and that the reassurance was made prior to the signing of the deal.

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Cavallo has the full support of many other sportsmen around him.

When he first came out as gay, Cavallo’s team rallied around him in support, alongside other footballers such as former professional Gary Lineker, referee Ryan Atkin, and fellow Australian football player, Caitlin Foord.

The Men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar will take place between November 21 and December 18, 2022. 

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

Topics: Sport, Football, LGBTQ+, Now, Qatar, World Cup


Daily Mail and 2 others
Poppy Bilderbeck
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Film & TV

Mindy Kaling says The US Office is 'so inappropriate' now and most of the characters would be 'canceled'

8 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Brittney Griner is facing 'terrible' life inside grim Russian penal colony

10 hours ago