Football

Ballon d’Or host apologises as twerk request causes storm

French DJ Martin Solveig apologised, saying he was taken aback by the stormy reaction online after he asked the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg whether she could "twerk" live on stage.

The awards co-host in Paris provoked a torrent of complaints about sexism with his question about the sexually suggestive dance, which received a blunt "No" from the unamused Norwegian striker.

The incident was a major talking point despite Hegerberg's achievement in becoming the first winner of the women's Ballon d'Or, an award which has been handed to male footballers since 1956.

Solveig, a musician and radio host, apologised in person to Hegerberg and said he was "astonished" at the reaction.

"Guys I'm a little bit amazed, astonished by what I'm reading on the Internet," he said in a video posted on Twitter. "Of course I didn't want to offend anyone... This was a joke, probably a bad one and I want to apologise for the one I may have offended."

As footage of the incident went viral, British tennis player Andy Murray led the backlash when he thundered: "Why do women still have to put up with that shit?"

"What questions did they ask (Kylian) Mbappe and (Luka) Modric?" he posted on Instagram, referring to the winners of the Best Young Player and the men's Ballon d'Or. "I'd imagine something to do with football.

"And to everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke... it wasn't. I've been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal."

Hegerberg, 23, whose goals lifted Lyon to a record fifth Champions League title and their 12th straight domestic crown, said the controversy hadn't marred her evening.

"I didn't feel it was like that at all, to be honest, and I am sad if people thought about the situation like that," said Hegerberg. "He came to see me after and apologised." - AFP

Football