Mario Ferri, an Italian footballer, made headlines on Monday after invading the pitch during Portugal vs Uruguay match at the Lusail Stadium with an LGBTQ flag. He was wearing a shirt with ‘Save Ukraine’ written in front and ‘ Respect for Iranian Women’ written at the back.
He was taken into custody by Qatari police on Monday. However, football journalist Fabrizio Romano reported that he has been let go without any consequences. As it turns out, Ferri is a serial pitch invader who considers it a part of his football-related activism.
He also has an interesting connection to India, which is not that widely known to people.
Ferri is a footballer who is currently on contract with the Kolkata-based second-division Indian football club United Sports.
He joined the club in January 2022 amidst a lot of fanfare. When he signed for the club, he said that he want to act as an example for young players in India who want to travel the for football.
“I want to enrich myself first as a man and then as a footballer,” said in an Instagram post after signing for United Sports, adding, “I want to be an example for those many kids who dream of traveling the world thanks to football. Even if you come from amateur football, passion has no categories.”
However, since the Covid 19 pandemic stopped the Indian second division league, Ferri had travelled back to his home town Pescara in Italy.
He has invaded the pitch in at least four FIFA World Cup matches before to bring attention to important issues. Since invading the pitch during Portugal vs Uruguay match, he has defended his act.