Adelaide United star Josh Cavallo has blasted FIFA’s decision to ban players from wearing rainbow armbands at the World Cup in Qatar.
Speaking with CNN’s Amanpour, available to stream on Flash, the 27-year-old gay footballer said he was “disappointed” with the sporting organization.
“I’m disappointed in FIFA, they have made me feel excluded,” he said.
“It’s just sad to see because in 2017 FIFA implemented human rights policies that obligate the governing body and everyone in the game to protect and promote human rights.
“Just in June, I remember the pride month was being displayed all over their social media accounts.
“Football is a place where everyone and inclusion is an important principle of the game.”
The athlete continued: “Then seeing what is happening as we speak, fans being turned away from the game and having colorful clothing
“Or teams being forced to remove the word love from their jerseys. Simple things like that.
“Or being banned to wear an allied Captain armband. The one love armband to promote inclusion, to send a message against discrimination of any kind of form
“It’s very disappointing to see how FIFA has behaved in this world cup.”
Cavallo savaged FIFA on Tuesday over its threat to discipline teams at the World Cup who wear rainbow-themed armbands, saying it proved the sport was not for everyone.
The armbands, in support of LGBTQ rights, have widely been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in World Cup host Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
Members of seven European teams, including England and Germany, wanted to wear them but abandoned the plan after football’s world governing body said they could be punished with yellow cards.
“FIFA have banned all teams to wear the One Love Armband to actively support LGBTQ+ at the World Cup. FIFA, you have lost my respect,” Cavallo said on Instagram, adding: “I love my identity.
“All the work my fellow allies and the LGBTQ+ community are doing to make football inclusive, you have shown that football isn’t a place for everyone.”
Cavallo came out in 2021 as the only openly gay men’s footballer while actively playing in the A-League.
The then-21-year-old took to social media to “publicly announce I am gay”.
He joined a select group of high-level footballers across the world who have come out, almost all after their playing days.
Cavallo’s decision to go public won plaudits throughout the footballing world and beyond, including from major clubs such as Liverpool, Barcelona, AC Milan, and Tottenham Hotspur.