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World Cup pitch invader won't face legal action - but will be kicked out of Qatar

World Cup pitch invader won't face legal action - but will be kicked out of Qatar
World Cup pitch invader won't face legal action - but will be kicked out of Qatar

Arabnews24.ca:Tuesday 29 November 2022 09:17 AM: A protester who ran onto the pitch during Portugal's match against Uruguay will not face any further legal action - but is being removed from Qatar.

Mario Ferri was seen sprinting onto the grass at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar on Monday waving a rainbow flag and wearing a T-shirt that read "Save Ukraine" on the front and "Respect for Iranian women" on the back.

The 35-year-old was quickly chased and detained by security officials.

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On Tuesday, Mr Ferri, who describes himself as a footballer and influencer, told his Instagram followers he had been released by the Qatari authorities.

"So many emotions right now. No legal consequence I am free," he posted on his Instagram stories.

In a separate post, he described himself as a "Robin Hood 2.0" and detailed the reasons behind his pitch invasion.

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"I wanted to send IMPORTANT messages for me that I have lived on my skin in the past months," he wrote.

"A message for Iran where I have friends who are suffering, where women are not respected.

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"FIFA banned captain armbands with rainbow and human rights flags in the stands, they blocked everyone BUT NOT ME.

"SAVE UKRAINE. I was a month in the war in Kiev as a volunteer and I saw how much those people are suffering."

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In a statement, the Qatar World Cup Supreme Committee confirmed Mr Ferri was "released shortly after being removed from the pitch" and "his embassy informed".

They added: "His Hayya Card has been cancelled and he has been banned from attending future matches at this tournament."

Hayya cards have to be obtained before gaining entry to Qatar, with some football fans reporting problems having them approved in time for matches.

History of pitch invasions

Mr Ferri has a history of pitch invasions, doing the same during the Belgium v USA match at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when his T-shirt read: "Save Favelas Children".

He was also seen on the pitch during a Napoli v Juventus game in 2017.

According to his profile on the website transfermarkt.com, Mr Ferri has played as a midfielder for the Italian team ASD Castel di Sangro since the summer.

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His protests refer to homosexuality being illegal in the host nation Qatar, the death of the Iranian woman Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for not wearing her headscarf properly, and Russia's war in Ukraine.

FIFA has not commented on the pitch invasion.

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