Ballon d’Or: ‘Casual sexism still exists’ in sport – Gemma Fay

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Ada Hegerberg had just won football’s most prestigious award when the presenter asked her to twerk

Controversy at the Women’s Ballon d’Or ceremony shows that “casual sexism still exists” in sport, according to former Scotland captain Gemma Fay.

Ada Hegerberg’s triumph has been overshadowed by the male host asking if she knew “how to twerk”.

Tennis star Andy Murray said it was “another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport”.

Fay, who has more than 200 caps, added: “It’s not a one-off incident. This casual sexism still exists.”

Lyon and Norway striker Hegerberg, 23, responded to Martin Solveig’s question with a simple “no” and later said she “didn’t consider it sexual harassment”.

“This was the first ever award of its type, you want the lasting memory to be something symbolic about that woman and what’s she’s achieved”, said Fay, who is now head of women’s rugby for Scottish Rugby.

“It was such an opportunity for women’s sport and all we’re talking about is the ridiculous comment about twerking.”

Solveig, a DJ, apologised to Hegerberg, adding via Twitter: “This was a joke, probably a bad one.”

However, Fay said: “If you take it in the wider context of the equality battle that has been at the forefront of women in sport over the last few years, it’s not okay, it’s not right.

“I’m disappointed that we are still having these conversations in 2018. This is just another example of the lack of awareness of the impact that words have.

“If you’re put on a world stage and given that opportunity, you need to recognise the situation of women in sport and recognise what we are fighting for. Understand that, do your research. Don’t put an amazing athlete in that position.”

The Ballon d’Or has been awarded to a men’s player by France Football every year since 1956, but this is the first year there has been a women’s award.

Gemma Fay has been working for Scottish Rugby since retiring from a distinguished football career
Fay has been working for Scottish Rugby since retiring from a distinguished football career


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