Fake Robot Kicks Off Football Match in Russia, Fooling Audience

A Russian man dressed as an eerily realistic robot kicked off a football match after being introduced by commentators as a real robot, the Match-TV television channel showed Saturday, just weeks after state media's last attempt to pass another robot-clad man off as a marvel of modern robotics.

The robot man, who commentators introduced as “Alyosha the robot,” brought the ball into play at a game between PFC CSKA Moscow and FC Orenburg.

The pundits did not clarify that the robot was not real at the time of kick-off, with one of the commentators calling the costumed man “artificial intelligence.”

Match-TV commentators have since insisted they knew that the robot was really a man in a costume, saying “It’s just funny, that’s all. He looked like a robot.”

For those who want to steal Alyosha’s look, the robot suit costs 250,000 rubles ($3,900) and is made by a company that also makes Iron Man, Robocop and Star Wars stormtrooper costumes.

In December 2018, a similarly robotic Russian man tried to fool audiences at a state television broadcast of a children’s robotics forum, where he was dubbed the “most modern robot” who can already “dance quite well.”