A Russian football club has made a surprising breakthrough in tackling the ongoing problem of unruly fans’ use of flares.
Deputy General Director of St. Petersburg based team Zenit, Yury Fedotov, has said that, in tests, pigs had proved to be just as effective as dogs at identifying hidden flares. He added that modern technology has nothing that could outperform either animal in this regard.
The team Zenit made headlines in November when a flare thrown from the Zenit end of the stadium hit opposing team Dynamo’s Anton Shunin during a Russian Premier League game. Shunin was briefly hospitalised with eye injuries as a result.
Russian fans’ use of flares became a particularly high-profile issue after this incident, with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev calling for the culprits to face lengthy stadium bans. In Tomsk, a city in Siberia, soccer fans complained to prosecutors in November after a section of the crowd was soaked with cold water after flares were lit during a game.