Andy Murray has criticised Martin Solveig, the co-host of the Ballon d’Or ceremony, after the French DJ asked Ada Hegerberg - the first ever woman recipient of the award - if she knew how to twerk.
The 23-year-old Lyon striker was announced as the maiden winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or competition by former France international David Ginola, and gave an empowering speech encouraging more girls to play football.
However, as the Norway international was leaving the stage, Solveig asked her if she knew how to twerk, but the three-time women’s Champions League winner abruptly said “no” before walking away.
After the event, Hegerberg told reporters that she had accepted an apology from the 42-year-old.
But former world number one Murray - a long-time campaigner for equality - hit out at Solveig.
He wrote on Instagram: “Another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport.
“Why do woman [sic] still have to put up with that s***?
“What questions did they ask [Kylian] Mbappe and [Luka] Modric? 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.”
Scotland Women’s National Team coach Shelley Kerr branded the incident “unacceptable,” telling STV: “It was totally inappropriate. The woman’s game has evolved over the years, but globally it should be valued more.
“[Hegerberg is] a phenomenal young player, who has scored over 250 goals. She is a serial Champions League winner and now the morning after we are talking about an inappropriate comment. It’s not acceptable.”
Hegerberg told Skysports.com: “He (Solveig) came to me afterwards and was really sad that it went that way. I didn’t really think about it at the time to be honest.
“I didn’t really consider it as sexual harassment or anything in the moment. I was just happy to do the dance and win the Ballon d’Or to be honest.”
Accompanied by a video apologising further to Hegerberg, Solveig wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Three-time Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton was another who condemned his actions, commenting on a video of the incident, writing “Wtf?”
Solveig posted a picture of the pair embracing and wrote: “I explained to @AdaStolsmo the buzz and she told me she understood it was a joke.
“Nevertheless my apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Most importantly congratulations to Ada.”
England defender and Lyon team-mate Lucy Bronze, who came sixth in the inaugural women’s award, believed the incident was just a joke.
“The DJ asked each person that won what their dance was but she can twerk, she was lying. It was more of a joke of making her dance,” Bronze told BBC Sport.
On receiving the award, Hegerberg said: “I would like to say a huge thanks to France Football, for letting us have this opportunity to have this award.
“It is a huge step for women’s football and the work you have put down is such an important thing for women’s football and together we will make a difference.
“I would like to end this speech with some words to young girls all over the world. Please believe in yourself.”