King’s College London’s student union announced the cap as part of a drive to feature more female, transgender and non-binary students on its teams / Google Maps

The BBC quiz show has been repeatedly criticised for its male-dominated panels

A sexism row has emerged at King’s College London after the institute announced it would cap the number of men on its University Challenge team.

In an email to its members, King’s College Student Union (KCLSU) appealed for more women, transsexual and non-binary students to apply and represent the college on the programme.

Union representatives said men should only make up half the team in order to help “combat the male-dominated landscape” of the BBC show.

A number of students have condemned the decision, however, branding it “blatantly prejudiced and sexist”, according to The Sun.

Jasmin Coggins, 23, told the newspaper: “We should make the teams more representative without forcing equality.”

Posting an invitation to audition on Facebook, the Student Officer Team said: “As a result of our aim to make our audition process and the team as inclusive and representative as possible we are using our positive action policy and will be aiming to have at least 50 per cent of our University Challenge team consist of self-defining women, trans or non-binary students.

“This is an important step that reinforces our union values and ensures we are bringing an inclusive and representative team into a largely male dominated show.”

The dispute comes soon after students at Reading University announced a boycott of the quiz show, after claims University Challenge host, Jeremy Paxman, had made sexist comments to the team about a knitted mascot doll.

Mr Paxman later said he was “baffled” by the claims.

The presenter has commented on the lack of women present in the competition in previous years, acknowledging that a number of female students claim they would be put off entering for fear of online abuse.

The Independent has contacted KCLU for further comment.