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Lingerie Football tempers titillation in WA league

Women planning to snag a spot in Perth's lingerie football team on March 3 will be joining a "matured" version of the sport that previously used garters and frilly knickers as its uniform.

Lingerie football is undergoing a re-branding – changing its name from Lingerie Football League to Legends Football League – and replacing its uniform with a slightly more modest crop top and shorts in an attempt to gain more recognition as a sport.

WA Angels player Tammie West said the shift in branding signified a new direction for the seven-a-side LFL.

"It started out as a show and now it's a professional sport," she said.

"They're trying to make it more mainstream and take down those barriers to make it more serious."

The re-brand includes the removal of "sexy female figures" from the League logo and the changed tag line of "True Fantasy Football" to "Women of the Gridiron".


"This is the next step in the maturation of our now global sport," said LFL founder Mitchell Mortaza, who will attend the March 3 try-outs at Karawara's George Burnett Park.

"We have now reached a crossroad of gaining credibility as a sport or continuing to be viewed as a gimmick.

"In order to reach the next milestone, we feel the focus has to be the sport and our amazing athletes."

The US arm of the LFL, which had used the lingerie-style uniform since its 2009 inception, claimed to be the country's fastest-growing sport and the only women's sport to garner a video game deal.

While the Perth squad was first formed last year, the Australian league won't officially kick off until December, with teams in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

West, a former state ice hockey player said potential players would be surprised to see it had "morphed into a real sport".

We have now reached a crossroad of gaining credibility as a sport or continuing to be viewed as a gimmick.

"Girls who haven't looked at the new league may be surprised," she said.

"In WA there are so many amazing athletes, we don't have that many contact sports like this and I'm all for contact sports."

However despite the branding shift, it is understood that women trying out for the team must supply a full-length bikini shot to be sent back to the US LFL with an application disclosing any tattoos and social networking profiles.

The 27-year-old said criticism levelled at the sport for being "cheap" and "sexist" hadn't reached Perth players.

"All the girls have had nothing but support," she said.

"The thing is, not everyone's going to agree with the same thing; if you don't like it, don't watch it.

"I'm very passionate it about it, I'm very thankful it has come to Australia, it's given me a chance to follow a dream and become a professional athlete."

Angels head coach J.R. Rogers didn't believe the sports lacklustre reputation would prevent women from trying out and expected 100 hopefuls at the open try-outs.

"It's not really a factor in the squad," he said.

"Everyone knows what we do is a football-based product and if the football speaks for itself that will disappear."

Rogers said the WAA's new uniform would be unveiled at the tryouts.

"It's more sportswear so it's more sports bra and less frills," he said.

"The bottoms are almost like boy-leg and they still have helmets and shoulder pads."

West said the more modest uniform was a "huge step forward" for the LFL.

"It was called lingerie football, what it was, wasn't bad before but I do like the new ones," she said.

"You want to play the sport instead of worrying about what you're wearing. It's a great step forward so you can run and catch the ball instead of worrying 'oh no something's going to slip out'."


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