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This Italian Fan Invaded The Pitch At The World Cup In Support Of LGBTQ People, Iranian Women And Ukraine

A pitch invader ran onto the field waving a Pride flag while sporting a custom Superman T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "Save Ukraine" on the front and "Respect Iranian Women" on the back during the Portugal vs Uruguay match on Nov. 29.

An Italian soccer fan ran onto the field waving a rainbow pride flag while sporting a custom Superman T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect Iranian Women” on the back during the Portugal vs Uruguay match on Monday Nov. 29.

world cup pitch invader superman ukraine iran rainbow
A pitch invader wearing a shirt reading “Save Ukraine” holds a rainbow flag during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Portugal and Uruguay at Lusail Stadium on Nov. 28, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The man, later identified as 35 year-old Italian soccer player and humanitarian worker Mario Ferri, was seen jumping the barriers and storming the pitch during the start of the second half of the game before he was escorted off by security officials.

world cup pitch invader qatar rainbow iran ukraine
A pitch invader runs on the pitch with a rainbow flag and a shirt that says “respect for Iranian women” during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Portugal and Uruguay at Lusail Stadium on Nov. 28, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

He was released without further consequence, according to the Italian foreign ministry.

Mario Ferri qatar world cup rainbow ukraine iran
A pitch invader wearing a shirt reading “Respect for Iranian woman” holds a rainbow flag during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Portugal and Uruguay at Lusail Stadium on Nov. 28, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

“We want a free world that respects all races and all ideas,” Ferri posted to his Instagram account the day after. “FIFA banned rainbow captain’s armbands and human rights flags in the stands, they blocked everyone, but not me.” 

Mario Ferri qatar world cup rainbow ukraine iran superman scaled
A man invades the pitch holding a LGBTQ flag as he wears a t-shirt reading “Respect for Iranian woman” during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between Portugal and Uruguay at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Doha, on Nov. 28, 2022. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Currently contracted to a team in the Indian second division, Ferri has been living in Poland and helping Ukrainian refugees find asylum since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.

This is not Ferri’s first rodeo.

Mario Ferri qatar world cup superman rainbow lgbt ukraine iran
A pitch invader with rainbow flag and “Save Ukraine” shirt during the World Cup match between Portugal v Uruguay at the Lusail Stadium on Nov. 28, 2022 in Lusail, Qatar (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Known as “The Falcon”, he has a history of invading pitches to raise awareness for various humanitarian causes while wearing his bespoke Superman tee.

world cup pitch invader superman rainbow ukraine iran Mario Ferri
Pitch invader Mario Ferri is held by security after running onto the pitch wearing a t-shirt with a message saying: ‘Respect for Iranian Woman’ on the back, ‘Save Ukraine’ in the front and holding a rainbow flag during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Portugal and Uruguay at Lusail Stadium on Nov. 28, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

He previously ran onto the field during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with the phrase “Save Favelas Children” printed across his chest.

The World Cup has been marred by controversy since Qatar was announced as the host nation in 2010.

There have been many acts of protests, including against the restriction of women’s rights in Iran, the rights of migrant workers, as well as the treatment of the LGBTQ community since the start of the games.

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