Gay Australian footballer Josh Cavallo says World Cup shouldn’t be going to Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
“It’s a shame that a country like Qatar has a problem like that, and they want to be a part of the international soccer world,” said the young forward from Brisbane in an interview with Fox Sports Australia.
“I want to make it clear that I’m against being brought into the soccer world, and it doesn’t matter where they are, I won’t be part of it.
“I would never go and play for the Qatar national team or any team in Qatar.”
In a statement published on the Australian Associated Press website, the Qatari Football Association said “homosexual behaviour is not accepted nor practiced in Qatar and we have zero tolerance for such behavior”.
“The player is a part of the squad and we have an open-minded attitude to the player’s point of view and wish him the best of luck for the competition.
“We ask all footballers to respect the environment in which they are playing, even if they do not share the same beliefs.
“And we ask again, that respect is shown to all footballers by their fellow footballers and referees.”
Australian coach Ange Postecoglou has refused to comment on Cavallo’s comments, saying he was concentrating on the games.
“We have our game-plan and the players are working their way through it,” he said.
“We’re not even thinking about that.”
The Australian federation is also not ready to comment on Cavallo’s statements, which have so far not been confirmed by the player.
The Australian Associated Press reports the Australian Football League has responded to the Qatari complaint, saying: “We have no knowledge of these allegations.”
It did not rule out an inquiry and it has requested more information before making a decision.
“It is our understanding that these types of comments are inappropriate and disrespectful to the national team” AFL spokesman told AAP.
“The AFL understands this has been a challenging campaign for both Australia and Qatar, and these comments are wholly inappropriate within the context of the tournament. We have reminded players that personal attacks on team-mates, referees and other players are not condoned within any sporting