The World Cup in Russia is just weeks away and, with a new Cold War very much on the horizon, there could be more controversy at play
You were at the pub the other night when you overheard some lads talking about the World Cup in Russia.
They’ve never been to Russia, which meant they had to deal in stereotypes. Stereotypes like “lol they’ll probably get bears to hand out the matchballs or something”.
Well, we regret to inform you that those idiots might actually be right.
Footage has emerged from a third-tier Russian league game between Mashuk-KMV and FC Angusht Nazran, where there was a special guest as the teams waited to kick off.
It wasn’t Vladimir Putin, or indeed anyone associated with Russian politics, but rather a placid and somewhat sheepish brown bear.
And, according to FC Angusht’s Instagram page, the bear will be participating in the opening ceremony of the World Cup this summer - this is as yet unconfirmed, but there have been mentions of a performing bear in the past.
We imagine this would cause a fair bit of controversy – even more than when German officials got an unwitting octopus involved in the 2010 tournament.
Stepping out to polite applause, alongside its trainer, the bear clapped the supporters before standing on its hind legs and handing a ball to the referee.
It seemed a little baffled by the whole thing, though that might be due to being used to bigger crowds; we imagine Russian circuses are better-attended than third-division football matches by the looks of things - you can see an empty stand in the background.
FC Angusht won 3-0, but that’s hardly the story when there was a literal bear inside the stadium.
It’s worth noting that – while the bear is supposedly going to be part of the opening ceremony – no one has specified in what capacity. Maybe they’ll have it singing the official song.
(Images: YouTube/FC Angusht)