Rooster thrown on soccer field in Russia in apparent homophobic act

Footage from Sunday's game between Fakel Voronezh and Luch-Energiya Vladivostok shows a fan picking up the apparently distressed bird, taking it to the front of the stand, and throwing it. (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

MOSCOW — A rooster was thrown onto the field in Russia’s second-tier soccer league as an apparent act of homophobic abuse against a coach.

Footage from Sunday’s game between Fakel Voronezh and Luch-Energiya Vladivostok shows a fan picking up the apparently distressed bird, taking it to the front of the stand, and throwing it. The rooster flutters over to the touchline as the man cheers and makes an obscene gesture.

Other fans are heard chanting "Grigoryan is a rooster," a reference to Vladivostok coach Alexander Grigoryan. "Rooster" is often used as a term of anti-gay abuse in Russia.

Vladivostok fans have frequently aimed abuse at coach Grigoryan this season, and he’s complained of receiving phone calls with threats. Grigoryan is unpopular in part because he used to coach a local rival.

Vladivostok was leading the game 1-0 at the time the rooster was thrown, but went on to lose 3-1, dealing a blow to its hopes of avoiding relegation. The club faces possible punishment from the Russian Football Union over Sunday’s chicken-throwing.

It wasn’t the only animal incident in Russian soccer over the weekend. Before a third-tier game in the North Caucasus region on Saturday, a trained bear was sent out to ceremonially present the ball to the referee.

The bear, named Tima in Russian media, wasn’t a lucky mascot for host team Mashuk-KMV Pyatigorsk, which lost 3-0.

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