Lauren's tilt at lingerie league
HARD hitting, high scoring and surrounded in controversy, the lingerie football league is coming to Australia in June, and Byron Bay's Lauren Funnell hopes to gain a spot in one of the league's team.
The Lingerie Football League (LFL) was established in 2009 as an alterative half-time Super Bowl program and is now the fastest growing league in the United States, with a cult-like following in Australia.
"[It is] the lingerie that initially gets the audience's attention, and then it is the athleticism behind the sport that keeps them in," Ms Funnell said.
Ms Funnell is the co-ordinator of the women's division of Gridiron Queensland, based on the Lingerie League, but without the lingerie.
The "fully clothed" competition, which is still looking for players, is set to take to the field in August.
"We have set up a league, which is tamed down to suit the Australian audience and get more women on board," Ms Funnell said.
"It will be a stepping-stone, so girls wanting to try-out for the LFL can develop their skills through us.
"We won't be playing in lingerie, but our kits (uniforms) will still be sexy and very feminine whilst still ensuring safety and practicality on the field."
The establishment of the Australian Lingerie Football League has been met with criticism by the Australian Womensport and Recreation Association (AWRA), and has provoked debate around the sexualisation of women in sport.
AWRA president Janice Crosswhite believes female athletes deserved to be recognised for their ability on the field.
"If the sport is about competition, safety pursuits and the athleticism of women then that is fine, but it becomes a problem when it is about male entertainment and the appearance of women," she said.
Ms Funnell understood people might have a problem with the league but argued the game promoted a healthy body image.
"If you look at these women's clips and what they can do in training they are amazing athletes," she said.
"Gridiron Queensland intends to focus on the development of the player's skills rather than their appearance."
Women Interested in playing should contact League co-ordinator Lauren Funnell on 0402 138 984 for more details.