Shane Rattenbury questions use of 'overly sexualised' cheerleaders at Kanga Cup

Shane Rattenbury questions use of 'overly sexualised' cheerleaders at Kanga Cup

Minister for Sport and Recreation Shane Rattenbury has criticised the "overly-sexualised" performance of cheerleaders at the Kanga Cup opening ceremony on Sunday.

The tournament, organised by Capital Football, is a week-long soccer tournament that attracts players aged between nine and 18 from across Australia.

While Mr Rattenbury said the tournament was "a wonderful event for families", he thought the opening ceremony performance was inappropriate.

"Entertainment acts such as the ensuing freestyle footballers demonstrating tricks with a football are much more suitable and enjoyable for the audience," he said.

"I understand the cheerleaders were brought in by the sponsor as part of their package, but nonetheless both myself and Capital Football agree that entertainment of this nature should not be part of future events."


His comments come after one Canberra Times reader described the performance as something suitable for an NRL match, rather than a youth soccer competition.

"Sunday's otherwise wonderful opening ceremony of the Kanga Cup was marred by a sexualised dancing presentation directly in front of our junior soccer players," said Henry Gardner.

"In the freezing cold, a group of prim young women in cheerleader costumes thrust their bottoms, chests and midriffs in the general direction of impressionable children. Shame on the event's organisers for allowing this spectacle."

Kanga Cup tournament director Michael Kelly said the performance was intended to be an athletic performance that would add to the event.

"Capital Football and the NSR Kanga Cup organising committee apologises to anyone offended by any of the performance," he said.

"The organising committee were under the impression the cheerleading performance would be more athletic-based rather than what was displayed and as such apologise to anyone present who felt it may have been inappropriate."

Mr Rattenbury said he had spoken with Capital Football about the performance during the week.

"I hope that we can now focus on what a successful event Kanga Cup is, and what a credit it is to Capital Football and their many helpers over the years," he said.

Henry Belot is a reporter at The Canberra Times.

Most Viewed in National