The next edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is unlikely to see the glamour and glittery pom poms of exotic cheerleaders as a scandal is blowing through India’s cricket establishment about a South African company from where the entertainers were sourced for IPL 3.
According to a senior functionary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), concerns that the South African firm that contracted the cheerleaders was involved in dubious activities has led the board to launch an investigation into the matter.
The board has already asked DNA Networks, the Bangalore-based firm that managed ground entertainment for all IPL franchisees, to provide all details with regard to the cheerleaders.
Cheerleading, a mainstay of Basketball and American Football in the US, was first introduced to the gentleman’s game in the IPL. Since the first edition of the IPL in 2008, the cheergirls proved to be a big draw among India’s cricket-watching audience.
The board is concerned that they proved a bit too popular. There is concern over a scroll that used to appear during the telecast of IPL 3 matches, exhorting viewers to call a premium number if they wanted to chat with the cheerleaders, another board official, who asked not to be named, said. The board had asked Venkat Vardhan, MD of DNA Networks, for an explanation, the official said.
“The board has brought this up with me and I have clarified that we had nothing to do with this scroll. Nobody contacted us, and it was not done with our cooperation. The board must ask the broadcasters about how such a scroll appeared,” he said.
Mr Vardhan said his company did not arrange the cheerleaders for IPL 2 in South Africa.
He told that the South African agency from which he hired the cheerleaders was Cosmo Promotional Models.
According to the company’s website, it was founded in 2006 and has operations in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The company serves as a booking agency for celebrities, talent models and promotional guys and girls for corporate events, in-store promotions, festivals, private parties etc.