Qatar World Cup – Who is Mario Ferri, the invader who entered the lawn with an LGBT flag during Portugal-Uruguay?


He is a man of a thousand lives. A native of Montesilvano, an Italian town in the province of Pescara, Mario Ferri is well known to everyone. Maybe even you. At 35, the one everyone nicknames « Il Falco » is a camera regular, or almost. Indeed, for fifteen years now, he has done everything: invaded dozens of prestigious grounds around the world, tried to pursue his career as a footballer, played in a preliminary Europa League Conference a few months ago with the team of « Tre Fiori » from San Marino or transporting Ukrainian refugees to Poland in recent weeks, photos and testimonials in support on his Instagram profile followed by 103,000 people.

« In India, where I play, it’s the championship break. A Ukrainian friend called me and just like that, instead of spending hours in front of the TV or the computer, I decided to leavehe said last March to The Gazzetta dello Sport. I made myself available to the volunteers of Leopoli, a group of young people who are all under 25 and I go back and forth with my car. So far I have secured about ten people. » This Monday, the « Falcon » returned to his first love by invading the lawn of the Lusail stadium, in Doha, during the 2022 World Cup meeting between Portugal and Uruguay (2-0).

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If the cameras have carefully avoided filming it, several photos have been taken and leave no room for doubt. It is indeed Mario Ferri. We see him carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a T-shirt in support of Ukraine. After running twice across the field, he was stopped and calmly escorted by security, AFP journalists noted. On his Instagram account, the latter posted images from inside the stadium, the last one being taken at halftime. The organizers of the World Cup are the target of many criticisms, in particular on the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Homosexuality is subject to criminal prosecution in Qatar.

Inter-Mazembe 2010, Belgium-USA 2014, Cassano…

The Italian, who can boast of having a page on the famous Transfermarkt site, alternates actions of this type according to more or less noble causes. In 2014, during the World Cup in Brazil, he notably interrupted the round of 16 between the United States and Belgium in the 16th minute of play by entering the lawn with a jersey, still that of Superman, to support the poor children of the Favelas (« Save Favelas Children ») but also pay tribute to the memory of Ciro Esposito, a Napoli supporter who died on June 25 of the same year following the incidents preceding the Italian Cup final in Rome. To achieve this, he had not hesitated to feign a false handicap, to finally get up from his wheelchair and take the direction of the lawn.

Four years earlier, during the World Cup in South Africa, « Il Falco » had managed to enter the field during the semi-final between Spain and Germany. « I had taken the accreditation of a photographer to enter the lawn« , he revealed at the time. In 2009, during a friendly between Italy and the Netherlands, he decided to meet coach Marcello Lippi to advise him to summon Antonio Cassano, his idol. start of stardom. »It was a bet with friendshe told MilanNews in March 2012. The invasion was very publicized and had a great success, perhaps because my desire to see Cassano in selection was that of everyone. Lippi didn’t want to understand it. » During a Serie A match between Sampdoria and Napoli, wearing a « Cassano in Nazionale » t-shirt, he finally managed to hug « Fantantonio ».

A few months later, Ferri decided to do it again with three other invasions: Real Madrid-Milan in the Champions League, Inter-Mazembe (final of the Club World Cup) in Abu Dhabi, which he will try to leave clandestinely on the edge of a boat. cruising to flee his judgment before finally being found and blocked by the police, and Barça-Manchester United (C1 final at Wembley). « In Abu Dhabi, after my arrest, I spent a day bound hand and foot« , he will reveal. More recently, on April 6, 2017, Mario Ferri invaded the lawn of the Stadio San Paolo in Naples for the return of Gonzalo Higuain in the jersey of Juventus. He then threw a Neapolitan scarf in his face to « revenge » this « treason« .

In April 2020, during the first confinement, Mario Ferri once again hit the headlines after being filmed in the middle of a chase in Pescara with a police officer trying to stop him on the seaside.Yes it’s me. I apologize. But I had been locked up for a month and needed to stretch my legs, and I decided to run by the sea« , he regretted in the process. For the anecdote, several colleagues of the sown police officer will wait for the fugitive on his return to the road to impose a fine of 4,000 euros on him. This time, no Superman t-shirt on the back .

The Superman jersey, his trademark

« This ‘swimsuit’ is the result of chancehe revealed one day. To tell the truth, I was looking for a Cassano jersey with the Italian selection but I couldn’t find it. So I opted for Superman’s blue. At 20, everyone had this in their wardrobe. » Although punished by the Italian authorities with multiple stadium bans, he almost never stopped entering the lawns of the biggest competitions in the world. Why?

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« There are three reasonshe replied in 2012. The first, and I’m honest, is the personal challenge. I had almost an obsession and I always managed to escape the controls. I have always liked risk. Then my invasions have always had particular meanings and causes. Finally, the very first brought me work and fame. Positive things, especially at the economic level. Now I’m someone in life, I organize events and parties, I own a restaurant and I’m an « art director » in discotheques. » Ten years later, the « Falcon » continues to strike.

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