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Who is Mario Ferri, the pitch invader who interrupted the Qatar 2022 World Cup?

The Italian has risen to prominence for his antics on and off the pitch

Italian Mario Ferri is making waves through social media as he has been identified as the man who took to the pitch to protest the 2022 World Cup during the clash between Uruguay and Portugal, but just who is he?

Ferri took to the pitch during the second half of the clash wearing a Blue superman T-shirt adorned with the phrase “save Ukraine” on the front, and “Respect for Ukrainian Women” on the back, while he also carried a pride flag, taking aim at the laws on homosexuality that exist in Qatar.

The 35-year-old has been a professional footballer for the past nine years, with the London Evening Standard claiming that he was ‘most recently contracted to second-division Indian team United Sports Club’.

However, it is off the pitch that he has made more of an impact, to the extent that he has been banned from all sporting acts by FIFA. In 2014, he ran onto the pitch during the clash between Belgium and the USA with another Superman T-shirt, this time with the slogan “Save the children of the favelas”, while in 2017 Gonzalo Higuain was his target as he threw a Napoli scarf at the man who swapped Naples for Juventus that summer.

Following his latest stunt, he took to Instagram to write: “I’ll call it “THE LAST DANCE” my last run in a playing field, I wanted to send some IMPORTANT messages to me that I’ve lived on my skin in the past months…

1) A message 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. 🇮🇹 🤝 🇮🇷

3) SAVE THE UKRAINE. I spent a month at the war in Kiev as a volunteer and saw how much that people were suffering. WE WANT PEACE UK️ IN UKRAINE, GLORY TO UKRAINE 🇺🇦 Thank you for all the messages of love that I receive from the world, from Iran and Ukraine 🖤 Breaking the rules if done for a good cause is NEVER A CRIME 🖤

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A post shared by Mario Ferri il Falco (@marioferrifalco)

He has since confirmed that he has been released without charge, though he is not allowed to attend any further matches.


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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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