Russian prosecutors are examining disturbing footage of a youth soccer coach kicking a seven-year-old boy into the air during a training session.
Valentin Pavlov claimed he was teaching little Eugene Efimov how to kick the ball properly after the child failed to show enough commitment in a tackle.
He then ordered the frightened youngster to get back into the game.
Russia's powerful Investigative Committee, equivalent of the FBI, is deciding whether to bring charges for cruelty against Pavlov, but the coach claims his kick looked worse than it was.
"I was explaining to the child how to use his foot in a more robust manner," said the coach, who claimed the camera was at the wrong angle.
"I started showing him - and just then the child jumped. So I sort of touched him, and he flipped in the air," he said about his tough love tactics.
While he did not apologize to the boy after the kick, he claims he has done so since.
Soon after the video went viral, the youngster's mother was tracked down and she refused to criticize the coach.