Ballon d'Or controversy: Ada Hegerberg directs attention to lack of respect for women's soccer

The awarding of the first Women's Ballon d'Or was overshadowed by remarks by the ceremony's co-host, French DJ, Martin Solveig, who asked the winner, 23-year-old Norwegian Ada Hegerberg, to "twerk."

Hegerberg, one of seven nominees for the award from French club Lyon, responded, "Non," and walked away.

Solveig's comment followed an impassioned speech by Hegerberg, who told young women: "Please, believe in yourself."

In remarks immediately after the gala, she downplayed the impact the comment had on the 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. “I think there are a lot of other subjects to discuss if we’re talking about sexual matters.”

Hegerberg (38 goals in 66 games) quit the Norwegian national team after Euro 2017 and won't play for it at the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

"A lot of things need to be done to make the conditions better for women who play football," she told the Associated Press before the gala. "It's all about how we respect women's football. I don't think the respect has been there. Sometimes you have to take tough decisions to stay true to yourself. I let them know, quite clearly, what I found wasn't working."

Hegerberg, who has scored 91 goals in 95 league games for Lyon, thanked her Lyon teammates and the club's president, Jean-Michel Alas, during her speech. Her salary and bonuses of between 400,000 and 500,000 euros ($454,000 to $568,000) a year reportedly make her the highest-paid female player in the world.

"I wish the national team the best, though," she added. "We just follow two different paths at the moment. I have no regrets with the decision I made."

A subsequent agreement between the Norwegian federation gave men's and women's national team players equal pay.

Hegerberg, who is reportedly in discussions to serve as an analyst at the World Cup, was selected from a short list of 15 women. Americans Megan Rapinoe and Lindsey Horan were ninth and 10th in voting.

11 comments about "Ballon d'Or controversy: Ada Hegerberg directs attention to lack of respect for women's soccer".
  1. uffe gustafsson, December 3, 2018 at 9:50 p.m.

    What a dumb thing to ask, glad it was a DJ and not a fifa represent that asked that question.
    time for these sexual comments to stop for women athletes. And US soccer did you read that Norway now pay both men and women equally? It’s about time you do it as well.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, December 3, 2018 at 10:25 p.m.

    Uffe, as an event host he was representing FIFA at the time that he asked that stupid question.

  3. frank schoon replied, December 4, 2018 at 9:26 a.m.

    Uffe, if it's any consolation to you, they asked Zlatan to show a dance move on one of the late night shows...

  4. John Soares replied, December 4, 2018 at 12:41 p.m.

    Frank, I assume you are joking.
    A late night, all in fun, "entertainment" show is completely different from
    an "official" FIFA presentation.

  5. frank schoon replied, December 5, 2018 at 8:11 a.m.

    John, obviously it was  meant tongue in cheek, but you have  to be an idiot not to realize that you don’t hire a disc jockey or  rather a shock jock to lead the FIFA festivities that basically involves a young group of athletes, DUH. Therefore in your example there is not much difference with a late night entertainment show.....I was more shocked that if FIFA had any respect for this award ceremony they should not have hired some idiot disc jockey who likes to hear himself  being talked about the next morning.
    Besides, the moment I read what he said , I laughed , for Europeans can’t dance , they have no sense of rhythm, feel for music, they are as stiff as a billiard table , especially those from Northern European countries, like Germany, Holland, and all the Scandinavian countries.

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, December 5, 2018 at 9:28 a.m.

    Frank, that is an interesting comment about dancing. Since you are Northern European, I accept what you are saying. That does, however, present an interesting issue for soccer coaches in Northern Europe.

    I do know something about rhythm. Everyone has rhythm inside them from birth. The most fundamental rhythms are the heartbeat--pulse--and respirations. The first learned rhythm is walking. That equates to a march tempo, work songs, and in the US traditional gospel music. 

    When teaching novices the instep strike, I build on their walking rhythm. 

    The use of the word "stiff" as opposed to supple is apt. Think of the difference between clogging and samba. (I think of the difference in swing music between Count Basie and Glenn Miller. To a drummer, the contrast is startling.) 

    supple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exhSEIia6vk

    stiff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pctzc3v5Cx0

    This isn't set at birth; it can be learned. Some talented people can do both styles of dancing. While I wouldn't call it conventional (here for sure), some coaches use music and dancing in training. Obviously, the younger you start, the better the progress to suppleness. 

  7. frank schoon replied, December 5, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

    Bob, good stuff. I maybe born in Europe but one half my family is South American with mulato and black blood mixture...I don't have any problem with dancing, rhythm, music,LOL. When I was a kid in Holland I would listen to our short wave radio, for that's all we had, on sundays,  to Gospel music, not knowing it was black music but I just like the rhythm, beat and melody.
    Good observation on marching beat which is more European, which I also like. Remember the theme of "Badge 714", love the marching beat. Likewise I love the Sufi inspired music of "Bolero" which also has a marching feel to it. And I love the Native American music which I have many cd's of and Peter Buffet has a great cd called " 500 Nations"..I love Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and love the Benny Goodman band with Krupa plaing drums..."take the A train',etc. 
    Watch on Youtube George Raft the actor dancing, incredible!!!!
    George Raft dances to Uptown Funk - YouTube
    I do have a eclectic taste. But I've never been able to understand Mexican Music, it just doesn't do anything for me, and you know what their music does have a European influence.
    I also like music from Morocco, Turkish,and Northern African 
    If you look at European dancing, ballet or just pop,  it's origins comes from follow the numbers...Fox trot, waltz ,etc, it's not rhythmic.
    When you look at the Brits or Scots or even Germans,  have you ever heard of their famous ballet troupe or painters. I consider countries like European as being more head oriented where rhythmic countries with warmer climate more heart oriented. This can be seen in their display of soccer as well- Europeans are more tactically oriented, stiffer, and whereas heart oriented are more technical and employ more feeling, intuition.

  8. frank schoon replied, December 5, 2018 at 10:57 a.m.

    Bob, Wingers are not rhythmic players and therefore we have so many more great, famous wingers come from Europe, not so much from South America. Wingplay is one dimensional which requires taking the least amount of steps to beat a defender and likewise cutback, which requires least amount of steps possible for more steps means  therefore you give the opponent more time to adjust; in other words,not  Rhythm but EFFICIENCY of movement is more important in Wingplay, that's why Europe has more great wingers..
    A good winger is able to force the defender into a offbalance position and then quickly cut as fast as possible, which means you depend upon the opponent's movement first ,before you can move. The faster you can move, the less time the opponents have to adjust, this is Rhythm is not as important. Even Garrincha, a heart oriented player, moves with the ball is also very efficient...he comes at you with small steps ,waits till you are offbalanced and quickly cuts. 
    Look at Scotland, if anything, they had great wingers...I have a video of Jimmy Johnstone , unbelievable. He learned his moves from the greatest player England ever had....guess, a winger, Stanley Matthews..just watch his movements with ball,they are timeless

  9. Ginger Peeler replied, December 5, 2018 at 4:49 p.m.

    Gentlemen, it’s my understanding that he was asked to show his “twerk” move. I don’t think that really qualifies as a dance move. 

  10. frank schoon replied, December 5, 2018 at 6:09 p.m.

    Ginger , Zlatan was asked if he could do the "flosh" dancing move....

  11. beautiful game, December 4, 2018 at 2:11 p.m.

    Representing FIFA is always a liability...until con artists like Infantino et al are purged.

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