ZAGREB, Croatia (AFP) — Seeing a field invaded by animals is a usual sight if you’re strolling through the countryside, but it’s a different story when you see animals invade a game on the soccer field as it is not something you see every day.
Almost everyone loves soccer, and in places where the sport is more prominent than in the rest, it is always a sight to behold when someone or something invades the pitch while in play.
In England, streakers — naked men or women — invading sports fields have been popular for a long time now and happy fans celebrating a goal or the championship of their beloved teams are a lot more popular than seeing an animal appear on the field to celebrate.
Having animals interrupt the game is not a common affair, but that doesn’t mean it never happens, as it actually occurred multiple times with a variety of different animals from dogs to roosters.
But while some of these occurrences are pretty funny and enjoyable to watch, not all of them have a happy ending.
Take the case of a local soccer player in Zagreb, Croatia who may face charges from a Croatian animal rights group following an untoward incident during a semi-professional match.
The incident took place during a match between a visiting team and home team NK Jelengrad, where the play was stopped after a brood of chickens ran onto the pitch while the game was being played.
One of the players, Ivan Gazdek from the home team, vented his frustration over the “fowl invasion” on one of the chickens after he ran after the birds and kicked one with his foot. As if it was not enough, the player then chucked it over the fence in a flurry of feathers.
For his action, the 23-year-old player was given a red card for unsportsmanlike behavior.
The NGO Animal Friends in Croatia, on the other hand, also strongly condemned the “shameful act and cowardly behavior of the player against an innocent animal who died with crushed bones and in pain.”
The group said it would file charges against the player for the “criminal act of animal killing or torture,” and if formally charged and found guilty, Gazdek could face up to a year in prison.
Gazdek, who claims to be an animal lover who owns several pets, argued to local media that the killing “was not intentional.”
“I ran towards the chickens to chase them away, swung my foot and accidentally killed one,” said Gazdek. “Chickens are constantly entering the pitch interrupting the match. The pitch is full of feces. These are unhygienic conditions.”