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UEFA backs PETA over FC Shakhter Karagandy fans' animal sacrifice

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The name FC Shakhter Karagandy is seen during the UEFA Champions League Q2 qualifying round draw at the UEFA headquarters on June 24, 2013 in Nyon, Switzerland. Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
The name FC Shakhter Karagandy is seen during the UEFA Champions League Q2 qualifying round draw at the UEFA headquarters on June 24, 2013 in Nyon, Switzerland. Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

UEFA has today released a statement backing the protests of the animal rights group PETA after fans of the Kazakhstani side, Shakter Karagandy, sacrificed a sheep, just hours before their side met Celtic in a Champions League group stage qualifier.

PETA, last week, wrote a letter to Michel Platini last week condemning the ritualistic slaughter of the animal and the UEFA president has replied in support of the group saying that some cultural practices have no place in or around a sporting arena.

Not only that, but should a repeat performance of the sacrifice take place before the return leg this evening at Celtic Park, UEFA’s disciplinary committee will conduct a full investigation into the incidents although there was not mention of the club facing a possible ban from the competition.

The letter from Mr Platini reads as follows:

Dear Sir,

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 be not tolerated.

In case of re-occurrence, it will inevitably lead to a full investigation by our disciplinary bodies.

Yours sincerely,

U E F A

PETA, in return, have thanked Mr Platini for his swift response to the events, with a PETA spokes woman saying, “We’re very greatful for UEFA’s swift and firm action condemning such cruel and archaic practices. UEFA has sent a clear message that there is absolutely nothing sporting about violence towards animals.”

Shakhter carry a two goal lead into tonight’s fixture against Celtic with the winner of the tie advancing into the draw for the Champions League group stage which takes place on Thursday.