Ex-F1 head Bernie Ecclestone says grid girls are 'part of the spectacle'

Ex-Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly criticised a decision to stop using so-called 'grid girls'.

He has told The Sun that the women who walk onto the track before races are "part of the spectacle".

However, the sport's new owners disagree, saying the custom is "at odds with modern-day norms".

Racing driver Alice Powell also came out against the move, saying: "Formula one and motorsport in general is quite glamorous, and all the girls that you see on the grid are very glamorous.

"I think it's PC gone a bit mad, to be honest with you, I mean where are you going to stop?"

Former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney has also criticised the decision, and urged her own sport to resist the temptation to follow suit.

Maloney once became so notorious for her employment of scantily-clad ring-card girls that the issue was raised in the British parliament and she was threatened with a disrepute charge by the British Boxing Board of Control.

But despite walking away from the sport in 2012, Maloney remains unrepentant and believes ring-card girls should be allowed to stay in the sport because "they are part of the tradition".

Maloney told Press Association Sport: "I once put on a show with the most scantily-clad ring card girls in history and I told the secretary of the Board if he didn't like it he should go and stand at the back of the hall.

"I think the whole world's gone mad. Of course it wouldn't mean the end of boxing but it would be the end of an era. Certain people want to rule the world their way and they don't care about personal choice.

"Where are we going to draw the line? Are we going to ban all promotions girls - girls handing out leaflets, girls serving coffee? Are we going to ban them getting in the ring and punching each other?"

Leading current promoter Eddie Hearn has ruled out removing ring-card girls from his shows, also pointing out its tradition and telling GQ Magazine: "In my opinion it has nothing to do with sexism or feminism".

The Professional Darts Corporation announced earlier this week that it would remove walk-on girls from all its future events.

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