Skip to main content

Former France striker apologizes for sexist jibe

updated 11:10 AM EDT, Wed March 27, 2013
Former striker Bernard Lacombe scored 12 goals in 38 appearances for France.
Former striker Bernard Lacombe scored 12 goals in 38 appearances for France.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former France striker Bernard Lacombe apologizes following sexist outburst
  • Lacombe said he doesn't talk about football with women during a French radio show
  • Lyon unofficial "special adviser" was responding to a caller named Sonia who was criticizing Karim Benzema
  • France's Benzema has not scored for Les Bleus since June 2012

(CNN) -- Embroiled by successive racism scandals throughout much of the season, football was engulfed in a sexism storm on Wednesday after a leading ex-French international footballer advised women to look after their "pots and pans" rather than talk about the sport.

During a radio phone-in following France's 1-0 defeat to Spain in Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier, Bernard Lacombe, who scored over 100 goals for Lyon between 1969 and 1978 before returning to coach the team in 1996, advise a woman caller Sonia that her place was in the kitchen rather than airing her opinions on football.

"I don't talk about football with women," said Lacombe on the RMC radio station. "It's my character, that's my way. They should look after their pots and pans, that would be better."

Boateng: Racism in football must end
Becker: Ronaldo the tennis ace?
Keepy up challenge: Becker vs. Mendieta
What does David Beckham give to PSG?

Pedro's Point of View: Juve Europe's dark horses?

Sonia had called the station to criticize France striker Karim Benzema, a Real Madrid star who made his name at Lyon, for his performance against Spain. He last scored for France in June 2012.

But Lacombe was quickly forced to reconsider his view of women and their right to engage in a football debate as he issued an apology via Lyon's website, explaining he had only meant to defend Benzema.

"I'm sorry if my remarks yesterday on RMC have hurt women and in particular sportswomen and female footballers," read the statement on Lyon's website.

"My only intention was to respond with a quip to the umpteenth criticism of Karim Benzema about his skills that struck me as particularly gratuitous and unacceptable.

"I would like to convey to Sonia and her partners the respect I hold for them and my admiration for their skills as footballers and for their outstanding performances."

Read: Japan forced to wait for WC berth

Benzema has failed to score in any of France's five qualifying matches and hasn't found the net for Les Bleus since a friendly win over Estonia eight months ago.

"I want to say that I would have reacted as vehemently if the criticism of Karim Benzema had come from a man, obviously with different words but certainly as colorful," continued Lacombe.

"I do not want to attack anyone, but simply to defend a player who does not deserve such treatment."

Lacombe now serves as an unofficial "special adviser" Lyon to club president Jean-Michel Aulas and his jibe is acutely embarrassing for the French club given its women's team have dominated European football in recent years

On Sunday, Lyon's women's team underlined their status as the finest in Europe with an 11-0 demolition of Soyaux in the Coupe de France.

Patrice Lair's team have won the European Champions League in each of the last two season in addition to collecting 10 French league titles.

This is not the first time a senior football figure has uttered sexist remarks.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggested female players should play in tighter shorts, similar to the ones worn by volleyball players.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
updated 10:55 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
updated 4:22 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
updated 1:25 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT