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Abbotsford awarded lingerie football team

Abbotsford has been granted its own Lingerie Football League Canada franchise.

The squad will play two home games in its inaugural season, both at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC). The season is set to begin in August of 2012.

Abbotsford is the second team named to the new Canadian league, joining the Toronto Triumph, which played in the U.S. league last season. Five additional Canadian teams are going to be announced in the coming months.

It is not yet determined if the local squad will play under the name Abbotsford or Vancouver. Team officials are asking fans to vote on a team name by submitting suggestions to LFLinAbbotsford@LFLUS.com.

Jason Blumenfeld, general manager of the AESC, said the deal came about after he heard the league was looking to put a team in B.C. He said Global Spectrum, the company that manages the sports centre for the city, has other arenas in the U.S. that already host lingerie squads.

"They ended up contacting me when they were looking for an arena to play in," he said.

Blumenfeld expects public reaction to the announcement will be mixed considering the female players wear helmets, shoulder pads and underwear.

"I've had positive emails and I'm sure there are going to be some negative as well. But, it's just like any show. Megadeath is coming here with Motorhead; it's heavy metal ... There is something for everyone and it will be targeted to the demographic that will be interested in this."

Darren Blakeborough, an instructor in the University of the Fraser Valley's Social, Cultural and Media Studies program, said this is nothing new.

"It's closely related to things like mud and Jell-O wrestling and other such kind of things ... It's not necessarily about the sport," he said.

But he also noted he is not an expert on lingerie football, having never sat through an entire game. However, he does expect some form of public debate.

"I understand both sides of the argument about it ... We are going to hear about moral degradation and that this is really just a voyeuristic kind of corruption of women that's all based on the male gaze."

But he expects a counter argument will also be heard.

"It's put forward as an opportunity for women to take charge of their sexuality and that it's empowering and actually takes the power away from the male in this kind of a situation and gives it to the women who are in control of themselves more," said Blakeborough.

What he thinks will be more interesting is to see which argument is louder in a community like Abbotsford.

Along with the moral stand,  Blakeborough said the economics of the situation have to be considered as well.

“With the debate going on in Abbotsford about having to subsidize (the AESC) through community funds and taxpayers ... there’s probably a large group of people that would be on the fence and willing to be quiet if it was generating revenue, meaning they had to pay less taxes to support it.”

Blakeborough said the community has gone through this before, when the Naughty But Nice Taboo Sex Show (an annual trade show at Tradex) first arrived.

The argument then was the show was symbolic of the “decline of our civilization” and that all “civilizations have failed” because of this attitude toward sexuality.

“Four years later, I don’t think we’ve had to face an Armageddon.”

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman was unavailable for comment.

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