Protester invades the pitch at the 2022 World Cup

This is not the first time the Italian man uses football matches to display his protests against different causes around the globe. Read below to learn more on the matter.


by Aline Barbosa

Published on 11/30/2022

The rainbow-waving man disrupted the Portugal vs. Uruguay match on Monday.

Protests have been present during this year’s World Cup. Source: Freepik.

Last Monday night, a protester disrupted the match between Portugal and Uruguay by running into the field carrying a rainbow flag. That marked what appeared to be the first in-game support for LGBTQIAP+ rights during FIFA’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The protester was also wearing a shirt that said “respect for Iranian women” in the back, and “save Ukraine” in the front. He managed to run from the sidelines across most of the field, but was tackled by security before making it to the other side of the pitch. 

The rainbow flag had the world “peace” in Italian printed in white. While many say the protester didn’t explicitly invade the field in support of LGBTQIAP+ rights, most believe it’s impossible not to see it as a sign of defiance to the Qatari government. 

In Qatar, homosexuality is considered a crime, and LGBTQIAP+ rights are inexistent. During the first week of this year’s World Cup, hundreds of fans and journalists were unable to have access to venues for wearing clothing and accessories that were rainbow-colored. 

FIFA has continually apologized for these incidents and said that pride flags and apparel are allowed at venues. However, none of it has been visible in broadcasts.

Before the kickoff last week, FIFA also threatened sporting sanctions amongst European teams if their captains were to go through with their initial plans to wear armbands featuring rainbow colors for anti-discrimination purposes. 

This is not the first time the same protester invaded a World Cup match

The Italian man is known for these protests during World Cup games. Source: Freepik.

This is hardly the first time the same protester took his notable causes to the World Cup. The Italian man did the same in 2010 and 2014 in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.

However, Monday’s stunt was the first time during this year’s tournament that the rainbow flag made it to the TV screen. Most broadcasts briefly showed the protester, who then dropped the flag on the pitch before being caught by security. 

The referee picked up the flag and dropped it over the sidelines, on top of an advertising board. Then, a Qatari staffer quickly removed it from the field before the game continued. 

Most international broadcasts cut away from the protester – as it happens whenever there’s an invasion. Nevertheless, photographers were able to capture the full length of the protest and release it for the world to see. 

The Qatari government said on Tuesday that the protester had been released. The country’s Supreme Committee stated that he’s banned from the games, but would not face any other meaningful consequences. 

The statement said that the protester was shortly released after being captured by security during the match. Since then, his embassy has been informed of the situation. As a consequence for his actions, his Hayya Card was canceled.

This was just one of the many protests that have been going on since this year’s World Cup started. And most likely won’t be the last one before it ends on December 18. 

USMNT advances to the next stage in the World Cup

The USMNT won 1-0 against Iran on Tuesday and qualified to the knockout stages in an exciting match. Read below to learn more!


The USMNT advances in the World Cup

The American team won 1-0 against Iran and is now out of the group stage and into the knockout round.

About the author

Aline Barbosa

Aline Barbosa is an editor, writer and learning-enthusiast. Passionate about music, books and human behavior. Curious about the unknown. Believer that learning is a life-long process.

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