By JOHN RICHARDSON/UNION THE STAR (Reuters) – Canadian soccer team Canada Soccer said on Friday it will not be playing for the rest of the tournament in Canada after an altercation between two players and a gorilla.
Canada, the reigning world champion, will be without the two players who were seen throwing punches at a gorilla during the first half of its game against Ghana in Halifax on Wednesday.
“The team is disappointed to learn that the two members of the team have been charged with assaulting and/or harassing an animal,” a statement from Canada Soccer read.
The incident began when a player, Carlos Cuevas, and his partner, Pedro Pacheco, were shown on television throwing punches and making obscene gestures at the gorilla, known locally as Goliath, as the match ended.”
We will continue to work closely with our Canadian partners to ensure the safety of all involved.”
The incident began when a player, Carlos Cuevas, and his partner, Pedro Pacheco, were shown on television throwing punches and making obscene gestures at the gorilla, known locally as Goliath, as the match ended.
The pair and several of their teammates, including midfielder Eric Ayala, appeared to retaliate by throwing punches.
Canada won 3-1.
“Canada Soccer will be working with the authorities in Halifax and the city’s emergency management to find a resolution for this matter and that is exactly what the team is doing,” Canada Soccer’s statement read.
It was the third gorilla-related incident to flare up in the past two weeks.
On Monday, an unidentified man allegedly threw a knife at a cameraman who was filming a soccer match in the city of Halifax, prompting the police to issue a warning to bystanders.
The incident sparked a social media frenzy, with supporters calling for the player to be held accountable and others posting photos of the two men and their team bus on social media.
Canada’s national soccer team has not played since the U.S. women’s national team won gold in the 2014 World Cup.
The country was the top seed in Group A of the U-20 World Cup, which Canada hosted in Russia in July.
Canada was in the final group of four teams and would face Ghana in the quarterfinals.