Animal rights group Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have urged UEFA president Michel Platini to ban ritual slaughtering of animals in European football.

The call comes after Kazakhstan side Shakter Karagandy slaughtered a sheep in a corner of the Astana Arena the day before their Champions League play-off first leg with Celtic. The ritual was performed just before the beginning of a training session.

The Kazakh side went on to defeat the Scottish champions 2-0 in the country's capital city.

The ritual was mentioned at the pre-match press conference, but Karagandy coach Viktor Kumykov did not want to discuss the matter although he did admit that it had taken place.

The ritual is believed to be performed before the club's most important matches, normally played at their own stadium 135 miles away in Karagandy.

The animal rights group wrote to Platini, saying: "We are deeply disturbed that a sheep was stabbed to death in an attempt to bring good luck to the Kazakh team."

PETA associate director Mimi Bekhechi continued: "We hope Mr Platini will agree that animal sacrifice has no place in modern society, and we hope UEFA will act swiftly and decisively to ensure that the beautiful game is not further stained with the blood of animals."

Platini now has an unusual decision to make on whether or not to ban the ritual slaughter of animals before Champions League of Europa League matches. Such a ban would not, as you can imagine, affect a great number of teams.

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