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Ban urged on cheerleaders at sporting events

Bahrain News
Tue, 24 Oct 2017
By Raji Unnikrishnan


A BAN on cheerleaders at sporting events in Bahrain has been urged after two provocative videos filmed on the grounds of the country’s main stadium caused outrage on social media.

The call was made by Cricket Bahrain Association (CBA) president Saleem Elias hours after a government probe committee referred the case of the videos to the Public Prosecution for legal action.

Both videos – the first one minute long and the second 44 seconds – showed a group of cheerleaders posing provocatively while holding cans of popular energy drink Red Bull at Bahrain National Stadium.

This prompted the Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry to form a probe committee which yesterday referred all the information it has gathered to the Public Prosecution following directives from Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

“If we plan to organise an international cricket event, one of the very first conditions placed will be not to allow any cheerleaders at the event,” Mr Elias told the GDN yesterday.

“I, personally, strongly believe that we should not allow this culture of cheer girls in Bahrain, as it does not match with our society, customs or Islamic values.

“Bahrain is intolerant to any such behaviour and we as CBA will never allow such provocative events to take place under CBA’s supervision.”

The videos were reportedly filmed on the sidelines of the Arabian Cricket Carnival held in Bahrain earlier this month and featured the same cheerleaders hired for the event.

“CBA, the sole governing body authored by Bahrain Olympic Committee, was informed by the organiser that there will be a cricket festival but we were not involved in this festival directly,” added Mr Ilyas.

“This tournament was organised by private parties.

“CBA is a professional body and adheres to strict policies and regulations of the International Cricket Council while also respecting the local culture, tradition and values.

“We have never been involved or associated ourselves with any such indecent and controversial promotional campaigns and advertisements.

“CBA should be consulted to co-ordinate any approvals for cricket matches in Bahrain – this will help in monitoring as well as preventing such embarrassing situations.

“We have learnt that this particular commercial in circulation on social media was filmed during this tournament, which was a private event with no supervision and no guidelines followed.

“This incident and commercial has not just degraded the game of cricket but it will also damage the image of Bahrain being a sports friendly country.

“We have very high hopes for cricket to become one of the national sports in Bahrain and any such setback will only be detrimental to the game.

“This does not truly reflect the level of cricket organised in Bahrain.”

The Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry in a statement issued yesterday said the films violated a number of Bahraini laws.

“The videos were filmed by a group during a sports event hosted by a private company at Bahrain National Stadium,” it said.

“The ministry formed a probe committee that has gathered all information regarding the incident.

Filming

“The ministry has informed the Public Prosecution of the incident as the filming of the videos violated a number of Bahrainis laws, including using the establishment for purposes not agreed upon.

“Additionally, the ministry has handed over all the information which it gathered to the Public Prosecution.

“The ministry has asked the Public Prosecution to take necessary legal action in this regard as it strongly rejects the actions of the company which clearly violated the agreement of the use of the sports facility in a video that goes against public values and is something that is rejected by the Bahraini society.”

Sources at the Public Prosecution confirmed to the GDN that the case has been received and a formal investigation will begin today.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Bahrain Cricket Centre, which organised the Arabian Cricket Carnival, said they were preparing a report on the incident as requested by the ministry.

“We are not aware of the video and are not involved in filming,” he said.

“The Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry has asked for a report which we are preparing.”

raji@gdn.com.bh

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