An unnamed man donning a “Save Ukraine” T-shirt and an LGBTQ+ pride flag ran across the pitch in the middle of Portugal and Uruguay’s World Cup match up on Monday, only to be met with loud boos from the crowd.
Both teams, featuring star-studded lineups with international superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez, were unable to score any goals against each other in the first half of the match.
A pitch invader wearing a 'Respect for Iranian Women' t shirt and wielding a pride flag just took the field in Portugal's World Cup match against Uruguay. pic.twitter.com/3WimTNf7GE
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) November 28, 2022
Roughly five minutes into the second half, a man interrupted the game and was seen sprinting across the field while sporting an LGBTQ+ flag and a T-shirt that read the phrases “Save Ukraine” and “Respect for Iranian Women.”
A guy carrying a Pride flag and wearing a shirt that says "Save Ukraine" on the front and "Respect for Iranian women" on the back just crashed the pitch at the World Cup in Qatar. pic.twitter.com/ShD5Umko2L
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 28, 2022
Loud boos can be heard from the crowd of thousands as the unnamed man sprints across the field being chased by security.
This pitch invader during the Portugal-Uruguay match was holding a rainbow flag.
The front of his shirt read 'Save Ukraine' and the back read 'Respect For Iranian Women'. pic.twitter.com/DeHDf4jQ7S
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 28, 2022
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is taking place in Qatar, a muslim country in the middle east where homosexuality is criminalized and punishable by up to three years in prison.
Qatar government officials have noted, however, that “Everyone is welcome in Qatar.” Ahead of the international event, the government stated that “Our track record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people regardless of background.”
In light of the nation’s customs, Qatar has asked World Cup players, attendees, and organizations to respect their culture and avoid public displays of affection — regardless of sexualtiy.
“Everyone is welcome in Qatar, but we are a conservative country and any public display of affection, regardless of orientation, is frowned upon. We simply ask for people to respect our culture,” a government official said.
The United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) previously caused controversy on social media over their redesigning of the team’s crest to include a rainbow version, which the team would wear in some places at the event.
Men's USA World Cup Soccer team unveiled a rainbow logo to demonstrate their support of the LGBTQ community for the upcoming match in Qatar…where being gay is potentially punishable by death.
Thanks to the GOP, being gay in the US is also potentially punishable by death. pic.twitter.com/wn62DgxoQE
— B-RAD (@7B_Photography) November 21, 2022
“The rainbow crest will not be worn on jerseys during matches. It will be displayed at U.S. Soccer controlled areas, such as at night-before parties for fans,” U.S. Soccer said in an email to Newsweek.