Openly-gay footballer 'concerned' for his safety if he goes to Qatar for the World Cup
Josh Cavallo has expressed his 'concerns' for his safety if he was to travel to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup.
The Adelaide United star made history earlier this year when he became the only current male professional footballer to come out as gay.
When he made the announcement, the sporting world rallied behind him and showed their support.
Now, a few months on, and Cavallo's form means he's on the brink of being selected to represent Australia at this year's World Cup.
But with homosexuality being illegal in the host nation of Qatar, Cavallo admits it'd be 'quite concerning' if he - or any gay person for that matter - was to go over there.
"I know personally, if I go there, I will be protected because I'm in the public eye," Cavallo told CNN's Amanda Davies.
"But it's not me that I'm worried about. It's those ones that are messaging me. It's those people that aren't in the public eye that are scared to even be themselves and walk the streets."
"To see that we're heading to a country that's criminalising people like myself... It's quite concerning," added Cavallo.
In response to Cavallo's fears at the time, Nasser Al Khater, the chief executive of the tournament's organising committee, told CNN: "On the contrary, we welcome him here in the state of Qatar, we welcome him to come and see even prior to the World Cup... Nobody feels threatened here, nobody feels unsafe."
Since coming out, Cavallo has been vocal in condemning homophobia of any kind.
Recently, after Spanish football legends Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol appeared to 'joke' about being gay, Cavallo was quick to call them out for it, branding their antics as "disappointing" and "beyond disrespectful".
Cavallo tweeted: "@IkerCasillas and @Carles5puyol joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing. It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful."
The 22-year-old also recently had his say on David Beckham's multi-million-dollar role as an ambassador for Qatar.
But given the country's record with human rights violations as well as its stance towards the LGBTQIA+ community, Beckham has come under fire.
"Look, I don't know David personally, so I can't really comment on him and his actions," Cavallo said.
"But having allies in the game is really helpful and when I came out to my changing room, my teammates and to see the reception – every single one of them is an ally of me.
"It made me so proud on the inside and it makes you really emotional because it's something that I struggled for a long time. So it has such a significant impact on myself and my community.
"If someone like David Beckham with his platform does get around us and becomes an ally that we we are wanting him to be, it is really helpful.
"If he could take that next step and show what he means to the LGBTQ community, that would be fantastic."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/joshua.cavallo