Former Bars Angels leader Rigina Barieva — who departed before the club relieved its cheerleaders — claimed team officials were concerned about the players’ wives being jealous and upset over the Bar Angels’ presence at games.
“The arguments were that supposedly other people’s wives don’t react very well to beautiful girls. Daarom, the club decided to abandon the services of the support group altogether,” Barieva said, according to multiple Russian outlets.
The cheerleader alleged that the decision to remove the squad was “not made throughout Tatarstan,” and was specific to AK Bars. (The club is based in the city of Kazan in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan).
The Bar Angels have since taken to Instagram to ask fans to “sign a petition that may facilitate our return,” toevoeging, “We don’t want to leave our home club! We love hockey and AK Bars! Let’s fix the current situation together.”
AK Bars’ press service told Russian channel Match TV that they’re “taking a course in family values and cultural leisure” — and added the decision was not for economic reasons. The club said Bar Angels had no leader after the departure of the team’s previous one, and added that the move also increases seats for spectators.
The team has also denied that UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov’s recent comments, in which he said Octagon girls at fight events are “useless,” sparked the decision to cut the cheerleaders, noting they “made the decision earlier.”
AK Bars, without its cheerleaders, are scheduled to start their new Kontinetal Hockey League (KHL) season against Jokerit on Thursday.