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Cavallo calls out homophobic abuse in A-League game

Josh Cavallo, who last year became the only out gay professional top-flight men’s footballer in the world, has called out homophobic abuse during Adelaide United’s A-League draw with Melbourne Victory.

The 22-year-old came on as a substitute in the 54th minute in Melbourne on Saturday and said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at receiving abuse from the crowd and on social media.

“I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” Cavallo said on social media. “There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was.

“This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold people accountable. As a society, this shows we still face these problems in 2022.

“I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”

The A-League said it was shocked and saddened to hear reports of homophobic bullying and will investigate Cavallo’s claims.

A statement read: “There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.”

Adelaide and Victory also condemned the abuse faced by Cavallo.

A Victory statement read: “The club is committed to celebrating diversity in football, and strongly condemns this behaviour which has no place at our club or in our game.

“Melbourne Victory sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.”

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Cavallo shared his truth in a heartfelt message on social media last year

Adelaide Utd chief executive Nathan Kosmina said: “We are appalled by the verbal abuse Josh received by fans at AAMI Park.

“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club and to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting.

“Josh continues to show immense courage and we join him in calling out abuse, which has no place in society, and it will not be tolerated by our club.”

Cavallo: Football must change to become welcoming for LGBT players

Cavallo spoke to Sky Sports News in October after coming out publicly as gay and believed his decision was a time for football to “change” and become a more welcoming environment for LGBT players.

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Cavallo told Sky Sports News in October that he had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the positive response he received after coming out publicly as gay

He said: “I want to get a message across to the world to show that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe in or what culture or background you come from, everyone is accepted in football. It should be based on your talent not on what you look like or believe in.

“At the end of the day, we are in 2021 and it’s time to change this in football. To have this day today, I’m so overwhelmed and happy with the response I’ve received.

“I was very shocked and taken aback by the fact that the news went around the world. I am so honoured and grateful that clubs are getting around me, players are getting around me and I’ll get round to replying to everyone eventually, I am grateful for your support so thank you everyone.

“I struggled a lot not being able to look up to someone and knowing that no one has done this before so it was hard for me to come out and it took me about six years. So I understand the pain, I know what it feels like to be in the shadows and live a double life and lie to the people that you care about.”