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OFFBEAT

French thieves steal Portuguese team’s boots

Thieves stole all the boots of Sporting Braga players from their changing room as they prepared for their Europa League match at Olympique Marseille, police said.

French thieves steal Portuguese team's boots
Who stole Braga's boots? Photo: AFP

Marseille had to buy 46 pairs of new boots and even offered to charter a special flight to bring footwear from Portugal after the disappearance.

The Portuguese outfit left their boots in their dressing room at Marseille's Stade Velodrome stadium after training there on Wednesday night.

On Thursday there was no trace of the studded footwear.

“There is nothing which allows us to contradict the Portuguese officials' version of events,” a police spokesman said Friday.

The match went ahead with the French team triumphing 1-0.

Some of the Braga team used reserve pairs of boots which they had brought with them and left at their hotel. Others had to use the new boots bought by Marseille.

“I find this incredible. No door had been forced, how did the boots disappear?” said Braga's president Antonio Salvador Rodrigues on Thursday.

Braga have registered an official complaint with police, who said an investigation is ongoing.

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TOURISM

France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

READ ALSO: Disneyland Paris to begin 'phased reopening' in July

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