Protester who ran on to pitch banned by Qatar from World Cup matches | World Cup 2022

Qatari authorities have banned a protester who ran on to the pitch during Portugal’s match with Uruguay to express support for Ukraine, Iran’s women and gay rights from attending any more World Cup matches.

The man, who waved a rainbow flag and wore a shirt saying “Save Ukraine” on one side and “Respect for Iranian woman [sic]” on the other, has also had his Hayya card taken from him. The card doubles as a permit for international fans to enter Qatar and allows them to attend games and travel for free on the metro.

A Supreme Committee spokesperson told the Guardian: “Following the pitch invasion that took place during last night’s Portugal v Uruguay match, we can confirm that the individual involved was released shortly after being removed from the pitch. His embassy has been informed.

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“As a consequence of his actions, and as is standard practice, his Hayya card has been cancelled and he has been banned from attending future matches at this tournament.” Security staff quickly intervened and moved away the protester, who was supported afterwards by Portugal’s Rúben Neves.

“We know what has happened around this World Cup,” said Neves. “It’s a normal thing to happen. Of course, we are all with them as well. Iran as well, because I saw his shirt. I hope nothing happens to the boy because we understand his message and I think all the world understood it as well.”

The tournament has been surrounded by controversy that started with Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and its LGBTQ+ community. Since the World Cup began issues have also included Wales fans having rainbow hats confiscated or removed by security guards and some Iran supporters being told not to wear T-shirts backing anti-government protests in their country. The head of the organising committee, Hassan al-Thawadi, described the rainbow flag as divisive in an interview on Monday.

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