Two British cheerleaders were banned from a cricket match in India's lucrative new Indian Premier League (IPL) because they were black.

The two women were told they could not attend the game between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings.

Cricket is the national sport of this nation of 1 billion people. The IPL is for the Twenty20 (limited to 20 overs per innings and just one innings each) version of the game only.

British cheerleaders banned from Indian cricket show 'because their skin was too dark'

By Daily Mail Reporter
22nd May 2008
Daily Mail

The logo of cricket's new Indian Premier League (IPL)

Chennai Super Kings

Two cheerleaders hired to entertain crowds at India's Twenty20 cricket premier league have accused organisers of racism.

Ellesha Newton and Sherinne Anderson say they were banned from performing because they had "dark skin" and told to sit out of the opening routine at the India Premier League's inaugural match in Chandigarh.

They said they were left sobbing as Chennal Super Kings and Mohali Kings XI Punjab took to the field and that event organisers told them only "white girls" would be allowed to perform.

Ms Newton, 22, from Islington, north London, said they had been called "n*****s" and banned from performing.

Racism claim: Sherinne Anderson says that only white girls were allowed to perform for crowds at India's Twenty20 cricket premier league

She said: "An organiser pulled us away. He said the people here don't want to see dark people. The n***** word was used and they said they only wanted beautiful white girls."

Ms Anderson, 25, from Hayes, Middlesex added: "This kind of thing has never happened to us not in Europe, not here, nowhere. We are offended."

Mohali Kings XI Punjab

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

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

Several of India'sTwenty20 cricket teams have hired American and British cheerleaders, including a number of black African-Americans, but this is the first allegation of racism.

The raunchy routines have caused outrage in the country, where protesters condemned their introduction as an insult to traditional Indian modesty.

Now India's Twenty20 organisers are braced for a fresh and potentially more damaging row over the cheerleaders' allegations.

Women's rights groups in India have condemned the organisers, and called for action to be taken.

The All India Democratic Women's Association, said: "Stopping anyone performing on the basis of colour of skin is not only illegal but unconstitutional.

Racism is rarely discussed in India, but African visitors and immigrants from Nepal face regular abuse.

The event management firm Wizcraft today denied the allegations and accused the women of having "an ulterior motive" for making them.

A spokesman said: "They are totally fabricated."