The Rio Report

Pitch invader appears to fake disability to get onto pitch during Belgium v USA clash

The Rio Report

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Regular pitch-invader Mario Ferri has usually raised a few smiles with his impromptu appearances on the world's biggest sporting stages.

But this time, it seems, he's gone too far.

The Italian has caused a storm with his appearance during the World Cup last-16 clash between Belgium and USA in Brazil.

At first, Ferri's display raised nothing more than the usual disinterested yawns from bystanders.

But then this video footage emerged on the internet:

As you can see, it seems that Ferri only managed to pull off his pitch invasion by fraudulently talking his way into the stadium's wheelchair section.

He then abandoned his wheelchair and, taking advantage of the understandably more lax security in the wheelchair area, climbs through the fence and onto the pitch, where he showed off the following message on his t-shirt:

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No details have yet emerged of how Ferri got into the wheelchair section, nor if his antics took a spot away from a fan who actually needed it. Clearly, if that proves to be the case, his actions have gone beyond a bit of harmless fun.

Either way, questions will be raised about the security at the stadiums: during the opening week of the World Cup, police began an investigation after a fan in a wheelchair was pictured jumping to her feet to celebrate a goal.

Ferri has become notorious for charging on to the field during Serie A and Italy matches, wearing Superman t-shirts with the message ‘Cassano in the Nazionale’ emblazoned across them.

He has also worn shirts bearing a message for shot Napoli fan Ciro Esposito.

Ferri famously invaded the pitch during the 2010 World Cup semi-final between Spain and Germany in South Africa, complete with a vuvuzela.

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Now he has done it again, having evaded security to reach the field during the tie in Salvador de Bahia.

On this occasion he had two messages printed on a Superman shirt:

The first called for the protection of the children in Brazil’s Favelas.

The second was the hashtag #CiroVive – which stands for ‘Ciro Lives’.

That was in reference to Ciro Esposito, the Napoli fan who died last week after he was shot by a Roma ultra on the day of the Coppa Italia Final.

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