After Portugal’s promotion to the World Cup: excitement about rainbow speedsters

Activist Mario Ferri ran across the lawn of Lusail Stadium wearing a rainbow flag and a political Superman shirt.

“Save Ukraine” on the front of the blue T-shirt, on the back “Respect for Iranian Woman” – the three messages from the Italian at the World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay went around the football world on Monday evening. The morning after, the tournament in Qatar was dominated by the question: How is the man?

What is known about the promotion:
Shortly before his action, the Italian Mario Ferri posted short videos on the Instagram network, he paid homage to his great “idol” Cristiano Ronaldo. He did not announce his action. Ferri ran across the lawn, was stopped by stewards and taken to the catacombs. The images were not shown during the TV broadcast, which has been the norm in world football for such incidents for years. The rainbow flag was lifted by referee Alireza Faghani and sent off.

What is known about the consequences for the activist:

The world association FIFA and the World Cup organizing committee did not comment until Tuesday afternoon. It remained unclear whether Ferri is in custody or was allowed to leave the stadium unaccompanied by security forces. The Italian, who himself played top-flight football for clubs in his home country, in India and Jordan, has already had a number of speedster campaigns – including the German World Cup game in South Africa 2010 against Spain. Unlike domestic leagues and European club competitions, there is no home club to blame for incidents involving spectators at a World Cup. The case is initially with the security forces of the World Cup organizer.

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What is known about the embassies:

The rainbow flag is a central symbol for the LGBTQI* community. LGBT is the English abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Each letter represents one’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by up to seven years in prison. The lettering “Save Ukraine” clearly alludes to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. “Respect for Iranian Woman” deals with the fate of thousands in Iran, where protests against the government and the Islamic system of rule have been going on for weeks. The uprisings are often led by women. Many deaths are reported. Referee Faghani is Iranian.

“I hope nothing happens to the boy,” said Portuguese midfielder Rúben Neves after the game that secured Portugal a place in the last 16. “We all got his message, the whole world.”

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