French fan’s cockerel gets Euro-16 ban

Shows Balthazar the cockerel, French football mascot, in front of Eiffel Tower in 2007.Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

No more posing with tourists for Balthazar if UEFA gets its way

A cockerel named Balthazar, the unofficial French football mascot for nearly 20 years, has been banned from matches at the forthcoming Euro-16 championships in France.

The bird’s owner has been sent a letter from UEFA warning him not to bring the bird for security reasons.

Diehard football fan Clement Tomaszewski has been to more than 220 internationals since 1982.

Balthazar the cockerel came to fame in 1998, when France won the World Cup.

Ever since then, Mr Tomaszewski, also known as Clement d’Antibes, has been accompanied to football fixtures and other matches by the bird.

Though always called Balthazar, the actual cockerel has changed many times.

Mr Tomaszewski was unimpressed by the UEFA ruling.

“My cock’s part of the French football legend and yet I can’t bring him to a game,” he said.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Clement Tomaszewski holding Balthazar ahead of the England v France Rugby Semi-Final in 2007

The Gallic rooster is one of the national symbols of France and a version of it can be seen on the jerseys of the French football team.

In the letter, UEFA says security officials will be under strict instructions not to let in live animals to the Euro-16 championships.

“As nice as it is, the presence of your cockerel would put you in an awkward position vis- a-vis the security teams,” explains the letter.

But Mr Tomaszewski insists he will not go to a match without his rooster, starting with the tournament’s opening game, France v Romania, on 10 June in Paris.

He has tickets for all the matches France may play right up to the final.

“Balthazar will be there during all the Euro matches,” he said. “If he isn’t allowed in then I won’t go in either.”

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