Hotel Football, the 133-bedroom Manchester hotel founded by players Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, with Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, has been criticised for its support of a new women's football team that plays in their underwear.
The Lingerie Football League UK, which launched last week in Manchester, has been the subject of a petition with over 1,000 signatures, after it played its first match on 23 December on the rooftop pitch of the football-themed hotel, as reported in http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/lingerie-football-hotel-manchester-petition-10658032" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">The Manchester Evening News.
The petition was created by Chelsea Ladies team founder Tony Farmer, who called on the hotel's founders to retract their support.
On the petition website page, he wrote: "I ask the Manchester United legends from that Class of '92 [including Giggs and Neville] who have enjoyed such great lives from playing football, to understand the implications of what they are doing."
He added that the team, and the hotel's support of it, would "expose players… to people who view them as a sexual object rather than sportswomen".
The women's team, which is said to be made up of real footballers rather than models, was founded by lingerie blogger and marketer Gemma Hughes, who has said it was launched to raise awareness of the gender pay gap within sport and to create more sponsorship opportunities for female players.
Yet, the team has been accused of sexism thanks to its practice of allowing players to dress in suspenders, cropped tops and knickers - although some of the women wore more traditional shorts and shirts to play.
The hotel was not available to comment on the story at this time.
The £23m hotel, which opened this year with GG Hospitality, is part of a wider brand for the Class of '92 group, which also includes the 120-seat Cafe Football in London's Westfield Stratford shopping centre. In August this year, the hotel had a 75% majority stake bought by Singapore investment company Rowsley.
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