A man ran onto the field during the World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay on Nov. 29.
The pitch invader wore a blue Superman t-shirt with the words “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect for Iranian women” on the back.
He also carried a rainbow flag with the word “PACE” on it, the Italian word for “peace”.
The pitcher invader is Mario Ferri, reported AFP news.
The 35-year-old is a football player who has played on teams in Jordan, India, San Marino, the Seychelles and Switzerland.
He also has a history of pulling similar stunts.
Italy’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that Ferri was detained briefly after running onto the pitch.
He was then released “without further consequences”.
Italian activist Mario Ferri, who invaded the pitch during the Portugal-Uruguay match, announced on Instagram that he’s been released from custody.
“No legal consequences. I am free.” pic.twitter.com/nOdohORVnW
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) November 29, 2022
Banned from attending matches
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the committee responsible for overseeing the infrastructure projects and planning for the World Cup, said in a statement to CNN that the pitch invader has been banned from attending any more matches.
“Following the pitch invasion that took place during last night’s Portugal v Uruguay match, we can confirm that the individual involved was released shortly after being removed from the pitch.”
“As a consequence, of his actions, and as is standard practice, his Hayya Card has been cancelled and he has been banned from attending future matches at this tournament.”
The Hayya Card is a personalised document issued and required by every individual attending any of the 2022 Fifa World Cup matches.
Ferri likens himself to Robin Hood
Ferri defended his stunt at the Portugal-Uruguay match and took to Instagram to share “some important messages” that fuelled his invasion antics.
Ferri wrote: “Fifa banned rainbow captain bands and human rights flags in the stands, they blocked everyone, BUT NOT ME, like a Robin Hood 2.0.”
His pitch invasion “brought the message of the people”, he said.
According to CNN, he also said: “Breaking the rules if you do it for a good cause is NEVER A CRIME.”
Not first time
This was not the first time Ferri took to the field with his message, reported AFP news.
In 2010, Ferri invaded the pitch at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.
During a game between Inter Milan and TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ferri ran out onto the field while waving an AC Milan scarf.
At the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil, he ran onto the field during the Belgium-USA game, sporting his blue Superman t-shirt.
This time, the shirt read, “Save the children of the favelas”, referring to the slums in Brazilian cities with “Ciro lives” underneath.
This is in memory of Napoli fan Ciro Esposito who was shot during a violent clash in Rome.
In 2017, Ferri ran onto the pitch during a Napoli-Juventus match and threw a Napoli scarf in the face of Juventus player Gonzalo Higuain.
2022 Fifa World Cup riddled with controversy
A constant theme at this year’s World Cup is the issue of LGBTQ+ rights.
Prior to the start of the World Cup, Qatar said it might allow fans to display rainbow flags without being detained.
The rainbow is a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.
Fans were subsequently stopped from entering the stadiums when wearing rainbow bucket hats or any rainbow clothing.
The captains of seven teams, including England, were threatened with a yellow card if they wore the “One-Love” armbands.
These armbands are worn to protest against Qatar’s laws against same-sex relationships, Reuters reported.
Qatar, a conservative Muslim country, has strict laws against homosexuality.
It is deemed illegal and is punishable by up to three years in prison.
However, Qatar has insisted that “everyone is welcome” at the World Cup.
In a statement to CNN, Qatar said its “track record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people regardless of background”.
Top photo via Twitter