Australian professional football player Josh Cavallo (21) said in a video on social media on Wednesday that he is attracted to men.

This makes him one of the few men who play football at the highest level, who openly dare to say that they are gay.

Cavallo is a defender for the Australian club Adelaide United.

The John Blankenstein Foundation is happy to hear his news.

This Dutch foundation is committed to the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in sport.

See also: Simply explained: What do all the letters in the lhbti alphabet stand for?

'Step in the right direction'

"It is a step in the right direction," says Karin Blankenstein. She is chairman of the foundation. "It may be in Australia and not in Europe, but it is a young footballer and his club is responding very well to it."

"With such messages, certain fears are also removed. Such as: 'if you come out, your career is over and you will get all kinds of misery'. But if you read this message from Cavallo, you only see positive messages. "

"We also need to get away from negativity every time something like this is told," the foundation said.

There are certainly clubs and players, and also in the Netherlands, who are taking this well."


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Major differences between Europe and Australia

Chairman Karin Blankenstein does not think that Cavallo's message immediately ensures that homosexual professional athletes in the Netherlands also come out immediately.

The differences between, for example, the Netherlands or Europe and Australia are too great for that.

"It's a bit safer in Australia. Athletes here are often also active in other European places, where the response is not the same in every country. Cavallo's message does indicate that there are also good reactions. athlete in the Netherlands can be a sign that their time to tell it is also coming soon."

The media can help with this, says Blankenstein.

"I recently saw a banner at Roda JC with the phrase 'Football is for everyone'. With a rainbow flag underneath. That should actually make the news. In the media you often only see the negative things about this discussion. also for the fact that many athletes do not dare to say it."

Ajax player Dusan Tadic with the special OneLove captain's armband.

Ajax player Dusan Tadic with the special OneLove captain's armband.

Photo: ANP

'Clubs need to do more'

Almost two weeks ago, the John Blankenstein Foundation was still campaigning in the stadiums.

Together with the KNVB and the Eredivisie, among others, they drew attention to the acceptance of LGBT people in football.

That resulted in positive messages.

But there was still a lot of gay name-calling and singing from the stands.

"That is very worrying. It is always a small group that does this. The majority keeps their mouths shut and lets it go," says Blankenstein.

"In some matches you already know in advance that it will happen. Then there must already be a plan ready to intervene."

According to Blankenstein, such a plan already exists for other types of chants.

"Why is that? For example, with racism by fans, players make themselves heard and you see that they are affected. But that does not happen with a football player who is still in the closet."

Blankenstein thinks that not only the KNVB can solve the problem.

"We can address the KNVB, but it also lies with the clubs. They signed a statement a day after our action about the misbehavior of supporters. But the same clubs are present in the stadiums when fans shout things: they can then intervene."

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Telstar and FC Volendam drew attention to the international Coming Out Day, earlier in October, with special shirts.

Telstar and FC Volendam drew attention to the international Coming Out Day, earlier in October, with special shirts.

Photo: Draw Alliance