“FIFA banned captain armbands with rainbow and human rights flags in the stands, they blocked everyone but not me,” said Mario Ferri via Instagram. “Like a Robinhood 2.0 I carried the message of the people. We want a free world that respects all races and all ideas.”
Ferri has seemingly now been released by Qatari authorities and announced that he will never again run onto the field of play at a sporting event.
Shortly after half time during Portugal’s 2-0 victory over Uruguay at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, Ferri evaded security and sprinted towards the centre circle causing the game to be temporarily suspended. The 35-year-old Italian wore a blue t-shirt with a Superman logo on the front and the words “Save Ukraine” printed above it. The back of the t-shirt included the message “Respect for Iranian women”.
“I will call it ‘The Last Dance,’ my last run on a playing field,” said Ferri. “I wanted to send important messages for me that I have lived on my skin in the past months.”
Ferri said he wanted to send three messages, the first for Iran where “I have friends who are suffering, where women are not respected”
“The world must change, we can do it together with strong gestures that come from the heart, with courage."
His message to Ukraine was informed by volunteering for a month in Kiev earlier this year, and the rainbow Pride flag was intended to protest Fifa’s planned clampdown on the OneLove captain’s armband
Nicknamed Il Falco (the falcon), Ferri has previously managed to evade security and enter the pitch at the World Cups of 2010 in South Africa and 2014 in Brazil. His incursion onto the playing field at this World Cup is the first time a game has been disturbed in this way during the tournament.
The Qatar Supreme Committee said in a statement: "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. His embassy has been informed.
"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."