Controversy has erupted after a Hooters restaurant on the Gold Coast announced it would be sponsoring an under-16s AFL club.

The restaurant chain, famous for featuring scantily-clad waitresses, has defended the decision, with Mermaid Beach restaurant owner Morney Schledusch calling the criticism surrounding the issue ridiculous.

He also indicated that the deal was a way in which the chain could challenge stereotypes that have risen up around the US-based Hooters brand.

“We are a local family restaurant and we want to sponsor the local community,” Schledusch told The Brisbane Times.

Woman’s rights advocate Melinda Tankard Reist has pointed to the sponsorship as another example of a sporting code encouraging the “dangerous objectification of women among young footballers”.

The Broadbeach Cats teams coach Neil Boston has also defended the sponsorship, saying it has made no impact on the young players who are just interested in playing football.

“It’s another way to make it cheaper for parents to have their kids playing at Broadbeach,” explained Boston.