In just over a year’s time, the 2022 World Cup will kick off in Qatar, and Australia are on the verge of qualifying for their fifth tournament in a row.
The Socceroos haven’t yet called up Josh Cavallo for their senior side, although the Adelaide United star has played for the Australian youth sides.
As the only openly gay current football player in the world, the spotlight has been on Cavallo ever since his recent, brave revelation.
One of the scenarios that has been put to him is the idea of representing his country at the showpiece next year, but it’s safe to say that it’s something he is struggling with at present.
“I read something along the lines of that [they] give the death penalty for gay people in Qatar, so it’s something I’m very scared [of] and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for that,” he told The Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast.
“And that saddens me. At the end of the day the World Cup is in Qatar and one of the greatest achievements as a professional footballer is to play for your country, and to know that this is in a country that doesn’t support gay people and puts us at risk of our own life, that does scare me and makes me re-evaluate – is my life more important than doing something really good in my career?”
As sad and, frankly, horrific as it is, Cavallo is undoubtedly right to be ‘put off’ because homosexuality remains illegal in the country.
Though Qatar as a nation can’t afford any bad publicity with the eyes of the world upon them in 2022, their human rights record both in the construction of stadia for the tournament and more generally is well known.