Gay footballer Josh Cavallo slams FIFA ‘ban’ on LGBTQ+ support at Qatar World Cup

Gay footballer Josh Cavallo and the FIFA World Cup trophy

Gay Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has condemned FIFA’s decision to penalise players wearing the OneLove armband in the World Cup.

Captains from seven European teams were to wear the armband as an expression of queer solidarity in light of Qatar’s human rights record against LGBTQ+ people. The decision was scrapped after FIFA threatened sanctions against participating captains.

In a tweet, Cavallo wrote about the decision as one in a series of attacks on the queer community.

“It’s not the first time we’ve heard ‘Stick to football’,” he wrote.

“The attacks on the LGBTQ+ community from World Cup leaders affects so many who live in silence because of your draconian ways.

“To be a great leader in sport, one must never give up trying to bring ALL people together.”

Cavallo came out in October 2021, becoming the world’s first out gay top-flight male footballer. He now uses his platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in football.

In an Instagram post, he condemned FIFA for the ban on “OneLove” armbands and its implications for queer inclusivity.

Cavallo has been outspoken about the 2022 World Cup from the beginning, saying he would be too “scared” to play the tournament in a country with such bans on LGBTQ+ identities, and later urging FIFA to “do better” when choosing future World Cup host countries.

‘A direct attack on us as a community’

Zander Murray, the first openly gay Scottish football player, also spoke out about the Qatar World Cup and FIFA in a recent interview.

He told Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (22 November) the ban on OneLove armbands was “baffling”.

“The armband … that’s meant to represent inclusivity in our sport. It’s the fight against discrimination of all kinds in our sport. Personally, I feel that’s a direct attack on us as a community,” he said.

Murray also openly condemned comments from a Qatari official several weeks ago who said homosexuality was akin to “damage in the mind”.

“I can’t change who I am and the laws in Qatar are directly attacking people like me,” Murray told the Daily Mail.

“Regrettably, there are not many people calling it out,” he said.

“But it deserves a backlash.”