A RUSSIAN football team have been slammed by animal rights activists for using a bear to deliver a pre-match ball.
The grizzly bear, known as Tim, is a circus animal who was trained to give the ball to the referee before the third-tier game between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht in Pyatigorsk.
A Youtube video uploaded by the club shows the visibly distressed bear stood on his back legs whilst clapping to fans as he was egged on by his trainer.
Football team Angusht claimed on their Facebook page that Tim was going to be used in the opening ceremony of the Word Cup, a claim FIFA have been quick to distance themselves from.
The video is the latest in a long line of criticism Russia have faced before the tournament which starts in a few weeks on June 14.
Elisa Allen, director of PETA and animal welfare charity, branded the performance as “inhumane” and labelled the club “out of touch”.