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Sports

AFP
April 17, 2018

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Russian Premier League adopts ‘passionate bear’ logo

MOSCOW: Russia’s Premier League is following the lead of its English counterparts by launching an animal logo to win over fans: a red-eyed bear.

While the English top flight has its iconic royal blue lion, Russia has launched a logo of its own national animal just two months ahead of the World Cup kick-off in the country.The Moscow design studio behind Monday’s re-branding announcement described the animal on its website as: “A bear with eyes burning with passion.”

Russia’s club football has struggled for recognition in the post-Soviet era despite being ranked sixth by European governing body UEFA.Its reputation has been blotted by hooliganism and ramshackle stadiums built by Communist Party planners who valued austerity over comfort.

Teams such as Spartak Moscow and Zenit Saint Peterburg have faithful followings at home but are hardly a draw outside Russia.The Russian Premier League hopes that is about to change.

The infusion of 12 new or refurbished arenas now opening at great expense for the World Cup is set to transform how the game looks and feels.The Russian football association has started making a profit and is thinking up ways to capture a broader audience on TV.

This is where the black bear comes in.The fierce looking beast — replete with blood-red triangular eyes — is meant to replace a bland 17-year-old logo featuring the map of Russia on a ball.

A spokesman for the Premier League said it may still undergo some finishing touches depending on what team owners and the fans say.The league said in a statement it was hoping to use the new brand to “help create entertaining, competitive and commercially successful” football.

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