FIFA could punish Brazil after cat-throwing incident at World Cup

France and Kylian Mbappé train ahead of the World Cup final

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FIFA have been asked by an animal protection organisation to fine Brazil a hefty sum for the way the national team’s press officer removed a cat from one of their press conferences in Qatar. The surreal incident occurred before the Selecao’s World Cup quarter-final with Croatia, which they lost on penalties. 

Brazil were expected by many to go all the way in Qatar due to their exciting mix of youth and experience. Things started well with two wins to kick off the group stages but the first red flags started to appear when Cameroon beat them 1-0 in their Group G finale. 

A resounding win over South Korea set up a crunch quarter-final clash with Croatia, who reached the final in Russia four years ago. Despite a fine extra-time goal from Neymar, Tite’s side couldn’t close out the show and Bruno Petkovic’s equaliser preceded a penalty shootout that was lost by the South American outfit. 

Brazil’s untimely exit from the World Cup wasn’t the only source of controversy that week as curious footage emerged of Vinicius Jr speaking at a press conference leading up to the game. 

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A cat somehow managed to work its way into the room and climbed up onto the table while the Real Madrid winger was speaking to reporters. The press officer, Vinicius Rodrigues, appeared to grab the cat by the fur before dropping it onto the floor, sparking widespread social media reaction. 

Cats are considered sacred animals in Qatar and they are generally allowed to roam free, which explains how it managed to find its way into the press conference in the first place, but the nature by which it was removed has left some upset. 

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According to Foot Mercato, the National Forum for the Protection and Defense of Animals in Brazil have called out the national team for animal abuse, demanding the payment of a £164,000 fine which will be used for the protection of animals in their homeland. It remains to be seen whether FIFA will take any further action or if bosses from the Selecao respond. 

Having beaten the odds to send Brazil packing, Croatia powered on to the semi-finals before being comfortably beaten by Argentina. Brazil boss Tite stepped down following the disappointing result, as had been the plan all along, and he claimed that only time will tell how his six-year stint is perceived. 

“The cycle has ended, and I keep to my word,” he told reporters. “There are other great professionals that can replace me. When their goalkeeper [Dominik Livakovic] is the best player on the field, the game is talking to you. We had to be more effective in making goals. But did Brazil show their best? Overall, yes.

“I understand that I am the most responsible, but we are all responsible for the loss. It’s not about being a hero or a villain. There is no such thing in sports. Sometimes we have a great performance, we shoot at goal, and the ball deviates. That’s normal. But I can respect the result.”

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