Openly gay Adelaide United defender Josh Cavallo has called out homophobic abuse directed at him during the club’s A-League Men away match against Melbourne Victory.
- Josh Cavallo has taken to social media to share the abuse he copped during Saturday night’s game at AAMI Park
- Cavallo says he has “no words” to describe how “disappointed” he was to hear the homophobic remarks
- Melbourne Victory are investigating the matter
Cavallo, currently the only out gay player in a top-tier men’s football league worldwide, came on as a substitute in the 54th minute at AAMI Park on Saturday night and said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at receiving abuse from the crowd and on Instagram.
It came just over two months after the 22-year-old made international headlines and received worldwide support when he came out via social media and Adelaide United’s online channels on October 27.
“I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse at the game last night,” Cavallo said on Instagram on Sunday.
“There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was. As a society this shows we still face these problems in 2022.
“This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold this (sic) people accountable. Hate never will win.
After being made aware on Sunday of the homophobic comments directed towards Cavallo at AAMI Park, Melbourne Victory officials are investigating 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,” the club said in a statement.
“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.
“The Club is working with the League, [the] stadium and Adelaide United to investigate the matter further.”
Adelaide United chief executive Nathan Kosmina has condemned the homophobic abuse received by Cavallo.
“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.
“We will continue to work with the Australian Professional Leagues and Melbourne Victory to identify perpetrators and prosecute them accordingly.”
Australian Professional Leagues (APL) chief executive Danny Townsend says the game is also “shocked” and “saddened” to hear what Cavallo has endured.
“Our players, staff and fans have the right to feel safe, on and off the pitch,” the A-League Men’s boss said.
“There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.
“We are working with both clubs to investigate the incident and will issue sanctions to any people found to be involved.
“We fully support Josh Cavallo and want to ensure he can focus on his football performance, rather than on vile abuse. We will continue to concentrate our efforts on creating safe and welcoming A-Leagues for all.”
Cavallo said that, in addition to abuse at the game, he’d also received hurtful messages on Instagram.
“To @instagram I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received,” he said.
“I knew truly being who I am that I was going to come across this.
“It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”
Cavallo said he’d appreciated hearing from other fans who’d made contact after “making a stand at the game” against the abuse.