Bear Visits Professional Football League Game

Bear Visits Professional Football League Game

A video of the stunt Saturday at a third-tier Russian Professional Football League soccer match in Pyatigorsk shows the muzzled bear being led out in front of a crowd.

Russian bear and unidentified handler.

Standing on its hind legs, the bear can be seen holding onto the ball while standing beside the pitch, moments before kick-off.

Turns out, the referee had to take the ball from the bear.

"In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright risky", Elisa Allen, director of animal rights group PETA, told the BBC.

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PETA UK director Elisa Allen also described the act as "inhumane".

"Bears are wild animals and as such have very specific and complex needs".

The Russian bear is considered a symbol of Russia, so might it be logical to think that a real bear will kick off the 2018 FIFA World Cup in some way, like handing the ball to the referee before the opening match, perhaps?

"In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright risky unless, as is often the case, the animal's teeth and claws have been cruelly removed", Ms Bekhechi told SBS News in a statement. "Common decency should compel the football league to pull this stunt, which flies in the face of the spirit of fair play".

Animal rights groups condemned the display.

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