Josh Cavallo, Australia’s first active male professional footballer to come out as gay, said a country’s stance on LGBT rights should be considered before the rights to host a major sporting event are awarded.
Cavallo is yet to be called up to Australia’s senior team but has previously said he was “terrified” of playing at the World Cup in Qatar, where gay sex is a criminal offence.
The 2018 edition of football’s flagship event took place in Russia, where a “gay propaganda law” passed in 2013 was used to stop gay parades and arrest gay rights activists.
“I pledge to stand up for the LGBTQ athletes and fans at the World Cup in Qatar who are unable to live openly and authentically. Qatar, FIFA, the world is watching,” Cavallo said on Wednesday. “Do you see us?
“I urge sports leaders to consider our rights and our safety when choosing host countries for World Cups and other competitions. We have to do better.”
Nasser Al Khater, the executive director of the 2022 World Cup, said LGBTQ+ fans coming to the country needn’t worry about “persecution of any kind” and described Qatar as a “tolerant country”.
The World Championship begins on November 20th and lasts until December 18th.