Russian Football League Criticised As Bear Is Brought Out Before Match

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Towering over his trainer, a circus bear that was standing on his hind legs clutched a soccer ball in his large paws and then handed it to the referee before a European match over the weekend in Russian Federation.

In a soccer match in Russian Federation on Sunday, a bear named Tima was led to the stadium named Mashuk-KMV Pyatigorsk club's stadium where the match was happening.

In the video, the defenceless bear named Tim is restrained with a muzzle over his snout and mouth, while his handler forces him to stand on his hing legs and applaud the crowd.

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

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Mimi Bekcechi, head of campaigns for PETA Australia, slammed the footage as "inhumane and utterly out of touch".

"In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright risky".

Understandably, the sight of a bear being used in this way won't sit well with lots of animal lovers watching the footage.

While it's unclear whether Tim will be doing the same thing before the opening match of the World Cup, the bear will likely have some role.

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Unconfirmed reports are even claiming that the stunt could be in preparation for something similar at the 2018 World Cup.

At very least this is a pretty cruel circus act but at worse there's going to be some rather dark animal cruelty at play here.

Russian football is now in the spotlight as further questions are raised about the validity and safety of the forthcoming tournament this summer.

Russian Federation hosts the FIFA World Cup from 14 June.

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