Cheerleaders reassert racism allegations

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Cheerleaders once again make claims about having been racially discriminated and not allowed to be part of team Mohali because of the colour of their skin.

Updated: May 26, 2008 08:16 IST
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The cheerleader controversy is refusing to go away with the BCCI now announcing that they would investigate the cheergirls' allegations of racial abuse if they make a formal complaint to the IPL.

A number of British newspapers on Thursday carried the story about dancers Ellesha Newton, 22, and Sherinne Anderson, 25, claiming they were stopped from going on stage by organisers ahead of a match involving Kings XI Punjab in Mohali.

The pair of Sherinne Anderson and Ellisha Newton addressed a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday and once again made claims that they were racially discriminated and not allowed to be part of the Mohali team because of the colour of their skin.

Here is what they said, although its not clear if they have made a formal complaint to the IPL or the BCCI.

Ellesha: In the first match at Mohali in a group of mixed dancers we were the darkest. We were the only ones led off the ground at the first match and we believe it's because of our colour. We were allowed to dance later and we were really upset but we danced because that's what we had come there to do. Again in the second match we were allowed to dance but after that we were not allowed to dance and we have not heard from Wizcraft since then.

Sherinne: It don't want to say much except that I really am not happy with all this and I believe it was because of my skin colour.

Organisers Wizcraft International Entertainment, however, deny any knowledge of the incident.

A spokesman for Wizcraft said: "Our employees are trained to deal with our international clients. If there had been any racial discrimination, I would have received a complaint. But I know nothing of it."

The girls had been hired by Fierce Performance Productions which has offices in London and Mumbai.

Director Jorge Aldana said the girls were eventually allowed to take part as cheerleaders after he intervened with local officials.

(With inputs from IANS)

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