The Group H game between Portugal and Uruguay was full of action and drama, where both teams gave it their all to find a result. But one of the biggest moments in the game didn’t include players of either team as a supporter ran onto the pitch putting forth an extremely important message on this global stage.
This wasn’t any regular pitch invader, it was Mario Ferri, who calls himself “The Falcon”, ran on the pitch during the Portugal-Uruguay game on Monday. Italian sprinted wearing a blue Superman T-shirt with “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect for Iranian Woman” on the back. He also carried a rainbow-coloured flag adorned with the words PACE, meaning peace in Italian.
Later, he shared his motive behind the pitch invasion via Instagram, where he talked about multiple issues which have been in the news in the recent past. He first expressed support towards the equal rights for women in Iran, who have been protesting for the cause against the Irani government.
He then talked about how FIFA has banned ‘rainbow’ armbands for the captains during the World Cup, to spread awareness regarding the treatment of the LGBTQIA community in Qatar. Ferri then expressed support for Ukraine and made a plea for peace in the war-ridden country.
Ferri’s Instagram post said, “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.”
“2) FIFA banned rainbow captains bands and human rights flags on the stands, they blocked everyone, BUT NOT ME, like a Robinhood 2.0 I brought the message of the PEOPLE. We want a free world that laughs fucks all races and all the ideas.”
“3) SAVE UKRAINE. I spent a month at the war in Kyiv as a volunteer and saw how much 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.”
Ferri has also made similar statements in previous global tournaments as well. In 2010, he ran on the pitch during the Club World Cup final protesting for the release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Then in the 2014 World Cup, Mario made his way onto the pitch once during the Belgium v USA to create awareness regarding the conditions of Brazil’s favelas.