Josh Cavallo says football is not a ‘place for everyone’ over OneLove armband ban

Home Sports Josh Cavallo says football is not a ‘place for everyone’ over OneLove armband ban
Josh Cavallo says football is not a ‘place for everyone’ over OneLove armband ban

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo — who came out as gay last year — says FIFA has shown his sport is not for everyone by vowing to penalise players wearing anti-discrimination armbands at the World Cup.

Seven captains of European nations had planned to wear OneLove armbands at the World Cup in Qatar, a nation where same-sex relations are illegal.

The captains wanted to wear the armbands containing the rainbow colours associated with the Pride flag to promote inclusion and diversity in soccer and society.

However, under a FIFA edict delivered on Monday, the captains would have received yellow cards if they wore the armbands during games.

“FIFA you have lost my respect,” Cavallo posted on social media.

“All the work we’re doing to make football more inclusive [and] you have shown that football isn’t a place for everyone.”

a man with brown hair wearing a red polo shirt
Adelaide United A-League soccer player Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay last year.(ABC News: Brant Cumming)

Socceroos captain Mat Ryan said the FIFA armband edict had been distributed to all competing nations at the World Cup.

“I was informed it would result in a direct yellow card,” Ryan said.

Ryan was among 16 Socceroos players who released a video message prior to the World Cup, calling on the host nation to decriminalise same-sex relations.

“Together with our players union, we made our statement a month ago … just trying to influence positive change in the world,” he said.

Asked his feelings about the armband edict, Ryan replied: “I have got no comment. We made our statement with our players union. That’s all we can control.”

England’s Harry Kane, the Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk and Wales’ Gareth Bale were due to wear the OneLove armbands in Monday’s games.

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The captains of Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark were also expected to wear the armbands in the coming days.

However, the seven European federations released a joint statement after the FIFA edict, saying they would not wear the armbands.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including bookings,” the statement said.

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand criticised the backdown from the seven nations.

“First bump in the road and they have folded like a pack of cards,” he told the BBC.

However, German federation president Bernd Neuendorf said the move was an “outrageous demonstration of power from FIFA”.

And the Dutch association said: “The fact that FIFA wants to punish us on the pitch is unprecedented and goes against the spirit of the sport that unites millions.”

The OneLove campaign began in the Netherlands.

Its symbol is a heart-shaped, rainbow logo aimed at promoting inclusion and diversity in soccer and society.

AAP

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