The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has threatened Kazakh football club Shakhter Karagandy with disciplinary actions if they continue to perform the ritual slaughter of a sheep around games.
Last Tuesday the Kazakh team caused quite a stir when they sacrificed a sheep at the Astana Arena the day before their Champions League playoff first leg win over Celtic (2-0).
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) president Michel Platini penned a strongly worded letter to UEFA urging them to take action.
UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti wrote, in a letter to the football club, “We were informed that an animal slaughter took place at some point prior to the Uefa Champions League fixture involving FC Shakhter Karagandy and Celtic FC at the Astana Arena on Tuesday 20 August 2013.
“Although certain practices may be culturally rooted, they have no place in or around a sporting arena or event. In this context, I would like to make you aware that animal slaughter on a football pitch or in a stadium before, during or after a Uefa competition match - or with reference to a Uefa competition — is totally improper, and will not be tolerated.
“In case of re-occurrence, it will inevitably lead to a full investigation by our disciplinary bodies.”
Although disciplinary actions have been threatened the Kazakh boss Viktor Kumykov suggested at a pre-match press conference, at Celtic Park, that it may happen again, the Irish Times reports.
Kumykov said “All I can say is that every team and every club has its own pre-match traditions and rituals.
“Celtic must have their own. We will try to respect our traditions and those traditions have been in place even before we came to the club.”
When asked where they would get the sheep he said “As far as we know in Scotland the agriculture is very developed so it shouldn’t be an issue to find a sheep.”
A Celtic spokesman confirmed ahead of the Wednesday evening match that no ritual would take place. They said “Clearly this would not happen.”