Video of the Week: Only in Russia – a Brown Bear Being Used as Ball Kid.

Nastrovje! This week’s video of the week is proudly presented to you by mother Russia. To be precise, by the third Russian football division and the game between Mashuk KMV and FC Angusht Nazran where probably the most Russian thing ever has been pulled off.

Instead of having the referee or some lucky kids presenting the match-ball for this football game, they came up with another idea and used a tamed brown bear for this job instead. Wow.

In footage that is going viral currently, the bear can be seen walking into the stadium simply accompanied by one brave guy. Obviously he doesn’t need anything like a leash, as that would obviously be not what you’d expect from your average fierce Russian dude. After arriving in front of the seats the bear starts to act like a proper mascot and claps with the crowd. It is then handed the ball and passes it on to the referee.

See for yourself: The Russian Bear Ball Kid in Action

YouTube / Fontanka Ru

The scene is, however, rather unfunny after all and doesn’t only upset animal right activists. Also I believe that this isn’t the treatment this animal deserves and that the whole project is highly questionable and should – obviously – not be done. I mean, if the bear would be in his natural, free spirit he’d never act tame like that.

Still, I decided to pick this scene as video of the week, since I do find it absolutely strange and hence noteworthy. Especially, when you take into consideration what unconfirmed reports spread through the internet about this scene. According to them, this scene could have been a rehearsal for the World Cup opening ceremony in Russia this summer. And that’s what makes it even more strange. A brown bear opening the World Cup? Only in Russia.

What do you think? Is this a funny way of changing the ball kid game or is it animal abuse that should be stopped immediately? Share your opinion in the comment section below!

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Reactions to the World Cup draw in GIFs – Check out my guest appearance on The Kopville

Hi guys! Hope you’re doing fine and that you’re happy with last week’s World Cup draw. I had the chance to be a guest writer over at the Kopville this week and published a post there with some reactions to the draw in GIFs. Make sure to check it out here:

My guest appearance on The Kopville

Have a great week!

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Mainstream media at its finest: Italy WON’T go to the World Cup, even if Peru should get expelled. Live with it. (WRGMG #14)

The other day, I finally went to get a haircut. Was about time as I started to risk looking like Marouane Fellaini with my curly hair slowly but truly. And quite frankly, I didn’t really want that. So I went to my local barber that I visit since I’m a kid, really nice guy. Why am I bothering you with this pointless tale?

Because in the barbershop it was one of the many times I’ve heard people talking about the possibility of Italy still heading to the football World Cup in Russia next summer. Since Peru could probably face suspension after all, there’d be a spot available. And football romantics would love to see Italy take that space.

Now, I’m a football romantic too, but I know that this is virtually impossible. And suggesting it might actually happen is either the worst kind of clickbait by mainstream media, who took up this topic around the globe and appealing to those who were disappointed that the squadra azzurri failed to qualify in their playoffs against Sweden, or just people jumping on the bandwagon.

As I didn’t want to end up bald, I’ve decided to shut my mouth and let my anger about this whole story – not the people at my barber’s in particular – out on my blog. 21st century style. But honestly, we will have to live without Italy going to the World Cup. No ifs, no maybes and no buts. It is how it is.

Source: Pixarbay

But why were people suggesting that Gigi Buffon and his teammates might actually still end up at the World Cup? The answer lies somewhere around the Macchu Picchu region and is best known for pan flute music and great landscapes: Peru. The country that sealed the last World Cup spot in the playoff game against New Zealand. The country that went viral for their fan’s passion ahead of this qualifier and the unusual support by shamans trying to give their team a special power. Apparently it worked, the South-Americans qualified.

But now, they might still not end up going to the World Cup. Because a new law is set to be released in the country that would put the national football association directly under governmental influence. An absolute No-Go for FIFA, as the mentioned newspapers state.

Well, firstly we have to doubt how principle-centered FIFA actually is. Excluding a country from the World Cup and probably having to redraw the groups as there are continental quotas for the World Cup groups and everything? Much of a hassle. But more importantly, we’d have to go back a few years. To 2010 to be precise. That was when a rather famous country called North Korea took part at the World Cup. And my educated guess would be that their football association isn’t entirely independent from the national government either. But well, that’s just an assumption that you probably can’t really use to exclude the possibility of Peru being expelled.

Anyways, even if this would be reason enough to exclude Peru from the tournament, there still wouldn’t be any chance for Italy to take their spot. Normally it would have to be given to New Zealand who got directly eliminated by Peru or to Chile who come from the CONMEBOL region as well and finished one place behind Peru and hence missed the playoffs.

But FIFA has no clear rules on who would be given that spot either. So it might still be Italy after all, right? Nope. Because there is one clear rule: There can’t be more than 13 European teams at the World Cup. And Peru isn’t European.

So, unless England would retire voluntarily as they will probably go straight back home after the group stage anyhow, Italy won’t get a World Cup spot. As much as we all wuld love to see the Italians at the World Cup, we’ll have to live with it, no matter what clickbait articles say the opposite.

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10 Things Italy could do with their free time during the World Cup (Wednesday Shortlist #14)

So it’s official. The World Cup 2018 in Russia will not see the Italian national team participate. For the first time in 60 years the squadra azzurra has failed to qualify for a World Cup. Terrible news. And the result of a process that has been dwelling in the Italian football system for decades. Maybe, this disaster will eventually turn things around in Italy. It would be great to see them in their former glory again.

Nevertheless a World Cup without the azzurri will simply not be the same. Personally, it makes me really sad not to see them play in Russia – especially with legends like Gigi Buffon or Daniele de Rossi that certainly won’t have another shot in 2022.

But as much as the Italians will be missed, it also gives us the chance to enjoy some glee at their expense. Gotta live with that, scusi.

Let’s give them 10 more or less serious suggestions on what to do during the World Cup as they’ll have plenty of free time next summer:

  • Take revenge and smash Sweden 128-0 in FIFA18 on amateur mode.
maxresdefault (3)
Source: Youtube
  • Meet up with the Dutch for a public viewing of the World Cup.
  • Play a friendly against other teams who didn’t qualify. Maybe something like San Marino, Albania, Canada or St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Source: Twitter
  • Shut down every IKEA in Italy.
Source: Flickr
  • Watch the entire World Cup of 2006 again and pretend it’s live.
Source: Twitter
  • Reactivate Marcello Lippi as national coach.
Source: Twitter
  • Read every article on (Please, I need the clicks).


  • Make the 25th of July (when they got drawn into a qualifying group with Spain) a national day of mourning.
Source: Twitter
  • Actually not drive around honking every second night during the World Cup for once.
  • Build a statue for Gigi Buffon. And this one I mean completely serious. Missing his last World Cup is not the farewell this legend deserves.
Source: Twitter

What really grinds my gears #4: Iran suspended two players just for doing their job

Currently, the world is in a quite difficult state. Conflicts everywhere from North Korea to Syria that make world peace remain an unreachable dream, political crisis in many countries like Venezuela or Kenya, and so on. Then, there’s nature as well. Droughts and rising sea levels – but according to the behavior of many companies and a rather famous world leader, climate change apparently is not a thing.

Anyway. As horrible these events are, the world of sports has always been a way for people to escape these sorrows. Surely, it has its own problems that start destroying the illusion of sports as a safe haven of entertainment. Corruption, doping, excessive money spending and so on. Lately, political conflicts tend to be projected on sports as well.

Being it China demonstrating its power and immense financial options with paying ridiculous wages and fees for foreign football players, the NFL-Player Colin Kapernick and his protest against racism in his home country, the USA or countries boycotting the Olympic Games – the world of sports has, due to its size, importance and position in the spotlight of media attention, become an interesting platform for spreading political messages.


The way that the country of Iran, or more precisely its football association, has used this this week, however takes the biscuit. Two players, Massoud Shojaei and Ehsan Haji Safi, got banned from playing for the national team. Shojaei is the captain of the national team, while Haji Safi is his vice-captain. Poor fellas, they must have done something prohibited, maybe even something illegal, you think.

images (1)
Massoud Shojaei

Wrong. What they did was their job. They played football. To be precise: They played for their Greek club Panionios Athens in a Europa-League-Qualifier against Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv. Now, there’s a little addition to make. Since 38 years, Iran disallows its athletes to compete against athletes from Israel due to political differences between the two countries. Iran is not the only country which has restrictions when it comes to its athletes facing Israelis.

Now, the two players got banned from the national team and will miss the 2018 World Cup that Iran has already qualified for. And in my opinion, this is absolutely ridiculous. Politics should generally stay out of sports. Knowing that this is impossible it should still be able to decide for every athlete individually if he or she wants to protest against something or not. Athletes work hard every day in order to get the chance of competing in international competitions and tournaments.

Ehsan Haji Safi

Robbing them off this chance just because they helped out their team and played against a team from a hostile country can’t be an option for any country that wants to be taken seriously in any international competition.

Sports is about facing rivals. Not as enemies but as equal sportsman or sportswomen. About competing. If you must, you can still interpret competition between two entire countries, their beliefs and their governments into it. But that is certainly not the main purpose. Banning two players who chose to be athletes rather than political instruments is a violation of this spirit.

And if you don’t understand the spirit of sports and sports competition and stubbornly try to influence sports with your political opinion, like countries as Iran obviously do, then you might be the one committing a rule violation. Then you’re one who doesn’t fit into the world of sports. Then you’re the one who should be banned.

Hopefully, Shojaei and Haji Safi won’t be the only Iranians, who’ll miss the World Cup.

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