PARIS (AFP) - Usually more at home attempting to combat racism, violence and diving, UEFA on Thursday (March 15) opened a new front when they charged Besiktas for allowing a stray cat to hold up a Champions League match.
Europe's governing body said the Turkish club face action for fans throwing objects onto the pitch, blocked stairways and insufficient organisation in Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich.
A UEFA spokesman told AFP that the 50th minute appearance of the cat at Vodafone Park comes under "insufficient organisation".
There are thousands of stray cats in Istanbul and they populate not just the back alleys but public buildings, concert halls and restaurants and are accorded considerable respect.
Referee Michael Oliver stopped play as fans erupted in guffaws around the stadium before the cat obediently pawed its way off the pitch after a minute and play could restart.
Bayern, who won the last-16 tie 8-1 on aggregate, saw the funny side of the incident.
"I don't know how many cats are at home here in the stadium, but it was a funny moment," Bayern captain Thomas Mueller told German daily Bild.
"It couldn't have been very easy for the stadium staff to hunt the cat down - she was a bit scared. That's why we were happy she managed to jump over the advertising boards."
Goalscorer Sandro Wagner added: "I have a dog and I'd have been able to catch him, but I am not so sure about cats."
UEFA will hear the case against Besiktas on May 31.