World Cup Pitch Invader With LGBT Flag Is An Italian Soccer Player Turned Ukraine Refugee Driver

The protestor who invaded the pitch waving an LGBT flag during the Portugal - Uruguay World Cup match on Monday is a former Italian soccer player turned well-known activist. Mario Ferri has invaded his fair share of pitches before including a World Cup match in Brazil back in 2014.

While Ferri is no rookie at invading soccer fields around the world, his waving of an LGBT flag in Qatar may be his boldest act yet. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and carries a prison sentence of up to three years.

The Superman shirt Ferri wore on Monday had the words 'Save Ukraine' written on the front and 'respect for Iranian women' on the back.


Ferri's message for the respect of Iranian women comes as hundreds of protestors are believed to have been killed and roughly 15,000 people have been arrested by the regime for taking to the streets. The protests started after a young Iranian by the name of Mahsa Amini died while in custody by the morality police for not wearing her hijab properly.

Ferri, known by the nickname 'The Falcon,' reportedly played professional soccer in India before giving that career up to become an activist. Most recently, Ferri has been driving refugees out of Ukraine to safety in Poland.

He told CBS Sports in March of this year that he personally pays for everything in transporting refugees out of Ukraine.

"I do it on my own. I pay for everything and I want nothing back," Ferri explained. "I almost had a fight the other day because I saw a man asking money for doing what I do. It's unacceptable, people are desperate here and there are few that want to make a business out of it."

"I go to Lviv, look for people that need help and I drive for five, 10, 15 hours."

Ferri was greeted with a number of cheers as he ran onto the pitch waving the LGBT flag. Shortly after dropping the flag, which was picked up by the referee, before being taken off the field by security.

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Mark covers all sports at OutKick while keeping a close eye on the world of professional golf. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before earning his master's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. He somehow survived living in Knoxville despite ‘Rocky Top’ being his least favorite song ever written. Before joining OutKick, he wrote for various outlets including SB Nation, The Spun, and BroBible. Mark was also a writer for the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate in 2016 when the team won the World Series. He's still waiting for his championship ring to arrive. Follow him on Twitter @itismarkharris.