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Bear helps kick off Russian football match

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Bear helps kick off Russian football match

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A bear helped to kick off a Russian football game in the city of Pyatigorsk.

The match between FC Mashuk-KMV Pyatigorsk and FC Angusht Nazran coincided with the visit of a circus in the same area, so the club took advantage and invited the animal onto the pitch.

The bear, wearing a muzzle, then sat in front of the crowd and clapped before standing on its hind legs while holding a football. It was then escorted away by its handler.

The match ended FC Mashuk-KMV Pyatigorsk 3-0 FC Angusht Nazran.

Animal rights campaigners have spoken out against the use of animals in circuses, objecting to what they describe as cruel training methods.

While Scotland banned the practice last year, it remains common in Russia and many other countries.