Qatar Pitch Invader In Portugal vs Uruguay Match Mario Ferri Released With No Consequences

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Mario Ferri, An Italian man who ran onto the pitch during a World Cup match in Qatar carrying a rainbow flag has been released following a brief detention, the Italian foreign ministry said on Tuesday 29th of November 2022.

Mario Ferri
Mario Ferri gets arrested by stewards

The man identified as Mario Ferri also wore a T-shirt with the words “Respect for Iranian Woman” on the back and “Save Ukraine” on the front.

Ferri was on the field for about 30 seconds during the second half of the game between Portugal and Uruguay before being tackled and escorted off by security operatives.

Security officials chased Ferri who described himself as a footballer and influencer before he dropped the flag on the field and was then escorted away.

The incident involving the pitch invader happened in the 51st minute of the game. Iranian referee Alireza Faghani was later seen picking the flag up off the turf.

Mario Ferri

The foreign ministry, together with the Italian embassy in Doha, followed the case after the pitch invasion,” the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement sent to AFP.

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After a brief detention, he (Ferri) was released by the authorities without any further consequences, the ministry said, without specifying where he was held or by whom.

Mario Ferri
Mario Ferri ran into the pitch with rainbow coloured flag

Gay rights and the use of the rainbow flag have been simmering issues at the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Furthermore, former Qatari footballer Khalid Salma, an ambassador for the World Cup described homosexuality as “damage in the mind”.

Captains of seven European teams had planned to wear rainbow-themed anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament as part of a campaign for diversity.

But they backed down over the threat of disciplinary action from football’s governing body FIFA, including yellow cards.

Ferri has staged similar protests before, including at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he raised the issue of children living in poverty, and Napoli vs Juventus in 2017, with his Instagram page referencing the time he threw a scarf in the face of Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain.

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On his Instagram account, Ferri posted images from inside the Lusail Stadium in Doha, where Portugal’s 2-0 win over Uruguay on Monday 28th of November 2022 took place. The incident was only briefly shown on television.

Mario Ferri

FIFA maintains rainbow-colored flags and clothes will be allowed inside stadiums, but some spectators have been ordered to remove items of clothing with the logo during the first phase of matches.

Meanwhile, in Iran, widespread demonstrations have followed the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in the custody of Iran’s morality police in September after being detained for alleged violations of the country’s strict dress code.

Before the tournament began, FIFA president Gianni Infantino told the 32 competing teams to “focus on the football” amid the controversies.

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