Josh Cavallo insisted ‘hate never will win’ after the world’s first openly gay professional footballer suffered homophobic abuse during an A-League game at Melbourne Victory.
Cavallo received global support in October when become the first footballer in one of the world’s top leagues to come out as gay.
Cavallo came out as gay in October 2021GETTY
The 22-year-old was abused from sections of the crowd after coming on as a second-half substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at AAMI Park.
“I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t see or hear the homophobic abuse,” he posted on social media.
“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.
“Thank you to all the positive messages, love and support, seeing that far outweighs the negativity.”
Cavallo has spoken out on social mediaInstagram
Both clubs strongly condemned the abuse in statements on their websites, while the league intends to punish anyone found to be involved.
“There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour,” read a statement from Australian Professional Leagues chief executive Danny Townsend.
“We are working with both clubs to investigate the incident and will issue sanctions to any people found to be involved.”
Cavallo also called on social media sites to do more in the fight against homophobia.
Cavallo is the only publicly known gay top-flight footballer currently playingGetty
“To the social media networks, Instagram and Twitter, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received,” he posted.
“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.
“I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.
“To all the young people who have received homophobic abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing your dreams. Know that there is no place in the game for this.
“Football is a game for everyone no matter of who you are, what colour your skin is or where you come from.”
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