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Italian soccer giant AC Milan scores own goal with haka stunt

Italian football club AC Milan have been ridiculed after performing a haka before a league match in the Serie A. The publicity stunt has drawn plenty of scorn and is widely seen as disrespectful.

Before a league match on Thursday, actors dressed as AC Milan players performed a bizarre imitation of the war dance usually performed by New Zealand sports teams.

The show was intended as a marketing tool for the cosmetics brand Nivea, which is a club sponsor, and included a move where players are seen mockingly applying cream to their faces.

Milan dubbed the pre-match war dance 'La Tekitanka', with the name emblazoned on advertising boards, as well as online in the form of social media hashtags.

Disrespectful decision

The haka is a traditional war dance by the Maori people of New Zealand and is sacred to many in the island nation.

War haka were originally performed by warriors before a battle to intimidate the opposition, but are also performed for welcoming guests or to acknowledge great achievements.

The New Zealand sports teams' practice of performing a haka before international matches has made the dance more widely known around the world.

This isn't the first example

of the dance being performed as a stunt. During the Rugby World Cup last year, New Zealand were left fuming when Matt Dawson, a 2003 World Cup winner with England, released a video ridiculing the haka.

Sixth-placed AC Milan ended up drawing the match 0-0 against 17th-placed Capri. After a season to forget, the club may also want to forget this episode.

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