Skip to main content

Former France striker apologizes for sexist jibe

March 27, 2013 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
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
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT