Rally caps, rituals and prayers frequent playing fields before, during and post-game at almost every athletic event.
That said, sacrificing a living, breathing mammal – as Shakhter Karagandy did ahead of its Champions League qualifier against Celtic – is an entirely different, well, animal.
The Kazakh soccer team sacrificed a sheep by stabbing it in one of the corners at the Astana Arena earlier this week prior to shocking Celtic 2-0 in the opening leg of its UEFA qualifier.
It’s nothing new, either. It’s understood that Karagandy executes a sheep before all big home dates.
Unsurprisingly, it took PETA less than 48 hours to respond to what’s widely viewed as animal abuse.
"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 said in a letter to UEFA president Michel Platini.
"We hope Mr Platini will agree that animal sacrifice has no place in modern society, and we hope the UEFA will act swiftly and decisively to ensure that the beautiful game is not further stained with the blood of animals."
Shakhter will travel to Glasgow ahead of next Wednesday’s return leg against Celtic.