The awkward moment Man United’s Women’s player of the year Alessia Russo is told ‘I’m not going to give this trophy to you because it’s so heavy’, as fans slam the chief exec of the club’s charity arm for ‘casual sexism’
- Alessia Russo was named Manchester United’s Women’s Player of the Year
- There was an awkward moment though when she was handed the award
- The chief of the club’s charity arm has been slammed for ‘casual sexism’
The chief executive of Manchester United’s charity arm has been slammed after he joked to Alessia Russo that he wouldn’t hand over her Women’s Player of the Year trophy because it was ‘too heavy’.
Russo was named the winner of the prize during the club’s end-of-season award ceremony on Monday night, after an excellent season in which she scored 12 goals in all competitions.
However, there was an awkward moment when she was up on stage with Manchester United Foundation’s chief executive John Shiels.
In a video which has been shared on social media, Shiels said: ‘I’m not going to give this trophy to Alessia because it’s so heavy.’
Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves, who was hosting the ceremony, quickly followed up: ‘I’m sure you (Russo) can take it quite handily can’t you.’
Alessia Russo (left) was named Man United’s Women’s Player of the Year award on Monday night – with the prize handed over by club foundation chief executive John Shiels (right)
Shiels has come under criticism on social media after he joked to Russo that he wouldn’t hand over the award because it was ‘too heavy’
As Shiels then passed the trophy to Russo, Shreeves followed up: ‘John, I think you need to take up more weight training it’s not that heavy.’
Shiels’ comments has led to criticism amongst social media users.
Conor Roberts tweeted: ‘Second hand embarrassment from this. Alessia looks so uncomfortable & embarrassed.
‘Unfortunately still people out there who treat female athletes differently. Such an unnecessary comment to make.’
Matt Johnson in response, wrote: ‘Casual sexism at a moment when she should be celebrated. Such a poor way to treat our own player.’
@Kazfootie commented: ‘These are our players… we should be protecting them not adding to the misogyny and sexist comments that they already have to live with.’
While another person tweeted: ‘Embarrassing. You can clearly see how uncomfortable Alessia is with his ‘joke’.’
One user praised Russo for how she handled the comment, saying: ‘Yikes. She handled it so well. But what a mess.’
Social media users said that Russo looked ‘uncomfortable and embarrassed’ over the comments – while Shiels did go on to pass the trophy to the Man United star
Alessia Russo was named Manchester United’s Women’s Player of the Year on Monday night
Following a tenure as head of Manchester United Soccer Schools, Shiels took on the role as CEO of Manchester United Foundation in 2008.
Shiels was awarded an MBE in the late Queen’s Birthday Honours List back in 2021 after decades of service to helping young people.
Manchester United’s stars dressed to impress as they hit the red carpet for the club’s end of season away ceremony on Monday night.
The Red Devils, and their partners, were spotted suited and booted as they celebrated their 2022-23 campaign for their senior and academy sides.
There were plenty of awards handed out on the night as the Red Devils teams – men’s, women’s and academy – celebrated their 2022-23 campaigns.
Rashford won the Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year award, while Antony’s strike at home to Barcelona won the Goal of the Season prize.
Hannah Blundell claimed the Players’ Player of the Year while Russo’s goal away at Arsenal was awarded as the best strike.
In the academy, Kobbie Mainoo won the Jimmy Murphy Award, Dan Gore clinched the Denzil Haroun Award, Holly Deering won Young Player of the Year and Bella Reidford won Player of the Year.
The Red Devils also launched the inaugural Fan Award named after the late Ian Stirling and confirmed it’ll be a permanent feature of their end-of-season awards.
Mail Sport has approached Manchester United for comment.