World Cup pitch invader carrying pride flag is footballer with history of protests

Ferri currently plays football in the Italian second division (Picture: Getty)

A protestor who ran onto the pitch during a World Cup match is an Italian footballer with a history of pitch invasions.

Marri Ferri, 35 – is currently under contract for Italian second-division side United Sports Club, and has carried out stunts before, according to CBS.

Nicknamed ‘Ilf Falco’ (The Falcon) he is from Pescara, near the Adriatic Sea, and in February last year he fled to Poland to help refugees from Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

Back in October 2010, Ferri made headlines and was even invited on an Italian chat show after stopping play during Real Madrid ‘s Champions League clash with AC Milan.

He was arrested in Abu Dhabi that Christmas after running onto the pitch during the Club World Cup final between Inter Milan and Congolside side Mazembe, dressed in his trademark Superman T-shirt with the added slogan ‘Free Sakineh,’ a reference to the Iranian woman who risks being put to death by stoning.

Ferri wore a ‘Save Ukraine’ T-shirt and carried a pride flag as he ran onto the pitch (Picture: Getty)
Ferri is known as ‘The Falcon’ to those who follow his protests (Picture: Instagram)
He has carried out protests on the pitch in the past (Picture: Instagram)

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He made the mistake of announcing his plan on Facebook and told followers: ‘I hope they don’t catch me, otherwise I will be in a heap of trouble.’

Back then he was under house arrest in Italy thanks to a series of pitch invasions, starting one during Napoli ‘s trip to Sampdoria.

Cunningly, he disguised himself as a steward before jumping over the hoardings wearing the statement ‘Cassano in Nazionale’, a message to Italian national boss Marcello Lippi to select Antonio Cassano.

Ferri was even escorted off the pitch by Cassano himself, with the former striker telling officials: ‘He’s a good boy, I’ll vouch for him.’

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And like clockwork, Ferri turned up in at the World Cup in South Africa to invade the pitch during Spain ‘s semi-final clash with Germany. Italy – without Cassano – had been eliminated in humiliating fashion at the group stage, prompting Ferri to run on and wave a vuvuzela while wearing a t-shirt reading, ‘Lippi I told you so’.

Ferri made his presence known at the next World Cup, too, this time held in Brazil.

He invaded the pitch during Belgium and USA ‘s 2014 group-stage meeting, once again wearing his Superman t-shirt which read: ‘Save Favelas Children.’ In 2017, he popped up once again when Napoli hosted Juventus in April 2017.

Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain was accosted by Ferri upon his return to Naples, having left for their Serie A rivals in controversial circumstances.

And then came the incident in Qatar, halting play during Portugal ‘s clash with Uruguay minutes before Bruno Fernandes gave his side the lead midway through the second half.

Not only was Ferri holding a rainbow flag, but his T-shirt had two messages; ‘Save Ukraine’ on the front and ‘Respect For Iranian Women’ on the back.

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