Lionesses legend Fara Williams rallies behind trailblazer Josh Cavallo after Adelaide United ace comes out as gay

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Lionesses legend Fara Williams threw her support behind Adelaide United's Josh Cavallo after he came out as gay
Lionesses legend Fara Williams threw her support behind Adelaide United's Josh Cavallo after he came out as gay

Fara Williams feels that if any top-flight male footballers follow Josh Cavallo's lead and come out as gay, their performances will improve, writes Tom Harle.

While the Adelaide United midfielder is the only current male player to have come out, the women's game is packed with out role models like Williams.

That means the Lionesses' most capped player, who married former Everton team-mate Amy Kane in 2015 before separating, can't truly empathise with Cavallo's experience.

"He is obviously in a great place with himself to be able to come out," said Williams.

"I've never been in that situation myself when I've found it difficult to talk about my sexuality so I wouldn't understand how hard it is.

"That's only on personal experiences - it's obviously been tough for him. I'm sure there's a weight lifted off his shoulders now.

"I don't know what he's like as a player but having done this could help his performance in terms of not having it to worry about.

"In my experience, I struggled most when things were going badly off the pitch."

There were 40 LGBTQ+ players across nations at the 2019 World Cup and Fran Kirby, Jill Scott and Demi Stokes are among high-profile English players to have come out.

"The women's environment has always been open, anyone who has worked within it would say that," said Williams.

"They're quite open with the media and with each other - it's a comfortable environment for anybody of any sexuality or gender.

"That was true when I was in the game, and now I'm looking at it from outside, it's still the same."

England's women were paired with home nations rivals Northern Ireland in Group for UEFA Women's Euro 2022
England's women were paired with home nations rivals Northern Ireland in Group for UEFA Women's Euro 2022

Rio Ferdinand revealed that he tried to convince a gay team-mate to come out during his career, but still only two of more than 5,000 male players have done so.

But for Williams, that ugly fact is society's problem and not one that should be borne solely by the beautiful game.

"I don't know if it's to do with the environment in the game itself, whether it's too uncomfortable for them to come out," said Williams.

"I don't think there's anybody in the men's game, if their team-mate was to come out tomorrow and say that they were gay, that would treat them any differently.

"There wouldn't be a negative reaction and you see people like Rio campaigning for it. It's not the team-mates and staff - it's society, fans and social media and the backlash of that."

The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 ticket ballot application window is now open and closes 16 November. For more information and to enter the public ballot for tickets, visit www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing

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