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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 February 2007, 17:49 GMT
Russell Crowe dumps cheerleaders
The South Sydney Rabbitohs cheerleading squad
Crowe said the cheerleaders were inappropriate entertainment
Oscar-winner Russell Crowe is to axe cheerleaders from his Australian rugby league club.

The Gladiator star, who co-owns the South Sydney Rabbitohs, will replace the girls with a drumming band after fans, including his wife, complained.

"It makes women uncomfortable and it makes blokes who take their sons to the football also uncomfortable," he said.

Cheerleader Ashleigh Francis said her squad had only tried to add glamour to the Rabbitohs' games.

"Children at the games were constantly approaching us and asking for autographs and photos," she told Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"Little girls would even ask if they were old enough to be cheergirls too," she added.


But Crowe defended the changes, saying the club had become concerned the cheerleaders - whose uniform included fishnet stockings and tasselled miniskirts in the white, green and red team colours - were inappropriate entertainment.

Russell Crowe
Crowe bought a 75% stake in the club last year
The club's website is currently advertising for drummers, both male and female, to join the marching band.

Crowe, 42, said he hoped the new entertainers would encourage women to attend matches and added that his wife, Danielle Spencer, had given her approval.

"She likes the fact that game day entertainment will be multi-sex," he said.

"We've talked to a lot of people and everyone sees it as being progressive."

The star, who won an Oscar for Gladiator in 2000, is a long-term Rabbitohs fan.

Last year, he teamed up with businessman Peter Holmes a Court to buy a 75% share in the struggling club for Aus$3m (1.2m).

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