Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo has condemned homophobic abuse that he said he received during his club’s match against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
Last October, Cavallo came out as gay and is currently the only openly gay male player across the A-League, NRL and AFL, as well as top-flight football internationally.
The response to his announcement was largely positive, but there remained fears that he would face abuse from some segments of fans – which he said is what happened during the 1-1 draw.
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“I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” Cavallo wrote on his Instagram page.
“There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was. As a society it shows we still face these problems in 2022.
“This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.
Adelaide United’s CEO Nathan Kosmina said he was ‘appalled’ at the allegations.
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“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,” he said.
“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.”
Melbourne Victory said that had been made aware of the incident, and that they were working with the league, AAMI Park, and Adelaide United to investigate the matter.
“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,” a statement read.
“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.”
Cavallo said he would remain vigilant in the face of abuse, and emplored youngsters who look to him as a role model to keep their heads high.
“Football is a game for everyone no matter who you are, what colour your skin is or where you come from,” he said.
“Love will always win.”
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