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Abbotsford Mayor Banman wouldn't watch lingerie football, but doesn't oppose it
The debate has begun on whether lingerie football is an appropriate form of entertainment in Abbotsford.
It was announced Thursday that the Lingerie Football League (Canada) would put a new team in B.C. which will play out of the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC).
While some argue it is a harmless form of sports entertainment, others have expressed concerns that women playing a contact sport, wearing sports bras and panties, is unacceptable in a city-owned facility.
"The entertainment and sports centre is similar to Tradex – they're both run by independent parties and the city's position is we will not interfere in determining what is appropriate or inappropriate entertainment as long as these events do not involve safety considerations for the city or its residents," said Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman.
He said Global Spectrum, which runs the AESC, was given a mandate to find entertainment for the building and that's what the company is doing.
"Personally, it's not something I would want to go watch," Banman said.
But he pointed out there are plenty of other forms of entertainment that people may not find acceptable.
"There are people who find Gene Simmons (from the rock group KISS) incredibly inappropriate as well. But not only did he come here and perform here and sell out, but Abbotsford ended up being on one of his segments on TV."
Banman said citizens "can vote with their wallets" on what they feel is entertainment and council does not need to weigh in on the subject. He said opinions are too varied.
"I'm a chiropractor and concussions are an issue. There are those people who think the violence in hockey is offensive and needs to go ... I'm not the morality police," said Banman.
Abbotsford Coun. Bill MacGregor has been involved with football for years. He sees the new league as being more entertainment oriented than sports.
"Let me tell you what I said to my colleagues: It isn't good football."
He said the reason people go to watch lingerie football is not about the quality of the game.
MacGregor has three daughters and the eldest was both a B.C. Lions and San Francisco 49ers cheerleader. He said he has a bit of insight into the voyeuristic aspect of the sport.
"I didn't particularly care for the male ogling of that ... this is that amped up on steroids as far as I'm concerned."
However, he said he believes it should be allowed to take place in this community.
"Would I go and see it? No ... But you know, thank God we live in a democratic society, most of the time, and people can choose."
He said the sport does fill stadiums in the U.S. and he puts it in the same vein of mixed martial arts fighting.
"Some people like it."
Coun. Simon Gibson spoke out against the sport on Thursday.
The new team will join Toronto and five other Canadian cities, yet to be named, to create the Canadian division of the Lingerie Football League. The season begins in August and the squad will play just two home games.