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Emblematic French rooster banned from Euro 2016 games

Policemen take part in a security exercise ahead of the Euro 2016 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium
Policemen take part in a security exercise ahead of the Euro 2016 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium AFP

Balthazar the rooster, known for his emblematic appearances at national sporting events, has been banned from the upcoming Euro 2016 football championships. But his owner says he will ignore the ban.

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Clement Tomaszewski, 68, and his pet gained worldwide attention at the 1998 World Cup in France, becoming a kind of mascot for the French team.

But this week he received a letter from European football's governing body Uefa saying he would not be allowed to enter stadiums during the competitions with the animal as it would breach the ban on live animals.

"As nice as it is, the presence of your cockerel would put you in an awkward position vis-à-vis the security teams," explained the official letter.

The Gallic rooster, as embodied by Balthazar, is an unofficial national symbol for France and a version can be seen on the jerseys of the French football team.

Tomaszewski insisted that he wouldn't go to a match without his rooster, starting with the tournament's opening game, France v Romania, on 10 June in Paris.

"Balthazar will be there during all the Euro matches. If he isn't allowed in then I won't go in either," insisted Tomaszewski, who has tickets for all the matches France may play right up to the final.

Tomaszewski, known as Clément d'Antibes, after a city on the French Riviera where he lives, told So Foot magazine in 2010, that until then he had always been able to take Balthazar in all stadiums around France and Spain's Navarre province.

He has been to 226 French national team competitions over the years.

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