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Soccer Team Fined After Fans Hurl Homophobic Abuse At Josh Cavallo

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Football Australia announced yesterday that it has sanctioned the Melbourne Victory soccer club with a fine of $5,000 (AUD) for the death threats and racist and homophobic abuse hurled at out soccer star Josh Cavallo by their fans during a recent home game.

Cavallo, 22, plays left back and central midfielder for the Adelaide United soccer team in the country's A-League, the highest level of professional soccer in Australia and New Zealand. He posted to social media about the hateful incident at the time.

“If you want to stay alive, go home g*ps*,” fans allegedly yelled during the game played on January 8, while others in the section used homophobic slurs.

Some fans were removed from the stadium by security following the incident, and the team promised to “ban any individuals identified as having engaged in the conduct” from attending games in person.

“Hate never will win,” Cavallo wrote to his Instagram at the time. “I will never apologize for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”

Cavallo thanked his fans for “all the positive messages, love and support, seeing that far outweighs the negativity.”

Cavallo’s boss, Adelaide’s chief executive Nathan Kosmina, hailed his player’s bravery after the incident but was far less supportive of the hateful fans hurling abuse from the stands.

“It’s an element that needs to be weaned out,” Kosima told the Sydney Morning Herald. “20 or 30 years ago, this is the sort of language that was more common. Now, it’s not acceptable.”

These public sentiments, along with the actions taken by the team, help mitigate the fallout from Football Australia, according to chief executive officer James Johnson.

“We look at all incidents on a case-by-case basis and take into consideration the totality of the situation and behaviors,” Johnson said in a statement. “This is not a situation where the Club has been sitting on its hands.  The Club provided a detailed submission, and it has taken a strong stance against anti-social behavior – both by its actions before and after this incident.”

Cavallo was hailed for his bravery when he publicly came out last October.

“Hi, everyone,” Cavallo said in a video posted to his social media. “It's Josh Cavallo here. I'm at my home here in Adelaide. There's something personal that I need to share with everyone. I'm a footballer and I'm gay.”

Johnson said the firm response from the league and teams should be a warning to other hateful fans.

“We will not let the anti-social actions of a few individuals impact the enjoyment football brings to so many,” he concluded in his statement.

RELATED | Josh Cavallo Says He'd Be Scared For His Life to Play Qatar World Cup

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