DOHA ( Associated Press) — A fan who stormed onto the field during a World Cup match wearing a rainbow flag and a blue Superman jersey with messages of support for Ukraine and Iranian women will not be allowed to attend any more tournament games in Qatar.
The World Cup organizing committee said in a statement that “the individual involved was released immediately after being removed from the field of play” and that its embassy was informed.
“As a result of his actions, and as has always been the practice, his (entry permit) has been revoked and he has been banned from participating in further matches in this tournament,” the statement said.
The fan identified himself on social networks as Mario Ferri, an Italian who had already committed similar acts in other matches.
Ferry walked onto the pitch wearing a rainbow flag in the second half of Monday’s match between Portugal and Uruguay. Security guards gave chase and Ferry dropped the flag onto the grass.
“I call this ‘The Last Dance’, my last field foray. I wanted to send an important message that I’ve experienced firsthand in recent months,” Ferry wrote in a post on Instagram.
Ferri said she has friends in Ukraine who are suffering and spent a month in the country as a volunteer after Russia invaded the country in February.
Prior to their opening matches, the captains of seven European teams during the World Cup were banned from wearing multicolored “One Love” campaign armbands in support of LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.
Some fans have complained that they are not able to enter the stadium with rainbow colored items.
Ferry said that motivated his protest.
Ferri wrote, “FIFA banned rainbow captains and human rights flags in the stands, they banned everyone, but as Robinhood 2.0, I delivered a message to the people.” We want a free world that respects all races and ideas.”
Ferry said police held him for about an hour after the incident and treated him well. FIFA president Gianni Infantino helped to release him without any sanction, except for the prohibition of participating in more matches in the tournament.
“But there is a solution for that too. I have prepared something magical for today.”
Ferry has interrupted several meetings in the past. As he said, Infantino recognized him when he jumped on the grass at South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.