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Bear hands ball to referee to begin Russian soccer game

17 April 2018

At the start of the Russian Football League third division game between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht in Pyatigorsk, a grizzly bear was "used" to hand the match ball to match referee.

The bear then clapped the crowd before returning from whence it came...

The bear stands on its hind legs and is handed a soccer ball by its handler.

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Footage of a muzzled bear dancing in front of spectators at a Russian football match has been condemned as "inhumane" by a leading animal rights group.

Elisa Allen, director of animal welfare charity PETA, told the Mirror the act is "inhumane" and called the club "out of touch".

She said: "In addition to being inhumane, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright risky". Common decency should compel the league to pull this stunt'.

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"Bears, like most wild animals, are highly unpredictable and people around the world have been mauled or attacked by these animals, underlining that show business is no career for a wild animal".

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?

The stunt elicited sharp condemnation from animal welfare groups.

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Bear hands ball to referee to begin Russian soccer game