Update: Martin Solveig released an apology on Tuesday, which you can read here.
The last couple of years have been truly exciting for women’s football. From Steph Houghton’s leadership of the Lionesses, to Eniola Aluko’s superb punditry at the World Cup, to the establishment of inaugural Women’s Ballon D’Or Award, it seemed positive change was happening.
However, there appears to be a more insidious trend that these successes are frequently marred, whether by mansplaining, or, even more drastically in the case of female reporters at the World Cup in Russia, by assault.
So it’s unfortunately no surprise that Lyon and Norway player Ada Hegerberg winning football’s most prestigious award yesterday was overshadowed by sexism.
The controversy comes from the fact that on her acceptance of the award, DJ and presenter Martin Solveig told Hegerberg that he had prepared a celebration for her, similar to the one that he had done for Kylian Mbappé (a fellow award winner). So far, so fine.
Solveig then followed up by asking Hegerberg if she knew ‘how to twerk’.
Of course, the sporting community, and the internet in general, were outraged at the blatant sexism on show.
Were fellow winners Kylian Mbappé and Luka Modric asked this? Let’s go to Andy Murray for the answer to that:
Of course Solveig was quick to respond to the controversy with disbelief, ‘Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended. My point was: I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song. Watch the full sequence People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women’
He then followed it up with this totally sincere apology for the ‘buzz’ caused.
Let’s talk about Ada Hegerberg, who afterwards said about Solveig, ‘He came to me afterwards and was really sad that it went that way. I didn’t really think about it at the time… I was just happy to do the dance and win the Ballon d’Or to be honest.’
Hegerberg, who at the age of fifteen was playing with Norway’s U19 squad, has won the treble with Lyon, and was BBC Player of the Year for 2016/7, is a footballing legend. Already sixth in the all-time UEFA Women’s Champions League scorers’ list at the age of 23, her career is going from strength to strength.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for her. Congratulations, Ada!