A Croatian footballer was given a red card after kicking a chicken to death in the middle of a semi-professional match in Sisak-Moslavina, the New York Post reports.
The attacker, 23-year-old Ivan Gazdek, was playing for NK Jelengrad against Jasenovac in northern Croatia on Saturday when a group of hens appeared on the pitch and interrupted the match.
Disturbing footage shows Gazdek responding to the interruption by chasing after the hens, before violently kicking one of them, which immediately leads to its death.This is the moment a female soccer player loses her hijab during a match, provoking an unexpected response from the opposing team:
The footballer can then be seen picking up the dead animal and throwing it over the fence in two attempts, causing a fluttering of its feathers.
Immediately after the incident, the referee red-carded the NK Jelengrad footballer for "unsportsmanlike conduct".
In an interview with 24 Sata, Gazdek defended his actions, adding that the animals create "unhygienic conditions" for players.
"Chickens constantly enter the field. The terrain is full of faeces — these are unhygienic conditions," Gazdek said. "I ran a little to the chickens to chase them off, I swung my foot and killed one by accident. F**k it. The referee ran up to me and showed me a direct red card."
Gazdek did, however, express his remorse that his actions had led to the chicken's death.
"Believe me, I did not intentionally kill this chicken. I apologized to the owner by letter and sent her a new chicken," Gazdek said. "Nobody thought about it after the game — we ate goulash and enjoyed ourselves."
Gazdek also went on to say that, as a pet owner, he adores animals and had meant no harm. He also asked for the forgiveness of the wider football community.
"I have a dog, two cats, and I also had a parrot, which recently sadly died," Gazdek said.