Laura Woods slams Man Utd chief for ‘really bloody awkward’ presentation of Alessia Russo award

Laura Woods slams Man Utd chief for ‘really bloody awkward’ presentation of Alessia Russo award

Manchester United Foundation CEO John Shiels MBE has apologised after Laura Woods joined the critical response to his interaction with Alessia Russo at the club’s end-of-season awards ceremony.

Shiels presented the Goal of the Season award to Russo on Monday night, and after carrying it on stage said: “I’m not going to give this to Alessia because it is so heavy. I’ve just been in a weight training session.”

Geoff Shreeves, who was compering, then stepped in and asked Russo: “I think you can take it quite happily can’t you?”

As Russo took the award, Shiels could be heard saying: “Hold it, careful.”

Attempting to make light of the situation, Shreeves added: “John, I think you need to do a bit more weight training, it’s not that heavy.”

Russo laughed it off too as she said: “It is quite heavy.” Shiels then replied: “Want me to take it? Are you sure?”

Woods was among those to react to the clip circulating on social media, tweeting: “How to make a great moment really bloody awkward.”

Shiels then responded to the backlash by posting a statement which read: “Last night I had the honour of presenting Alessia Russo with the Women’s Goal of the Season award at the Manchester Unitedend-of-season awards ceremony.

“I made a comment about the weight of the trophy which I know has caused offence. I am mortified by this and want to apologise to Alessia, her teammates, and anyone else offended.

“I alerted Alessia to the weight of the trophy because I was shocked by how heavy it felt, and would have done the same if presenting to a male player.

“I simply did not want her to drop it. However, on reflection, I can see why the comment has been misconstrued.

“Female empowerment is at the heart of Manchester United Foundation’s work, with almost 10,000 girls and young women taking part in our programmes annually.

“I’m proud of this work and upset that my remarks created a distraction from the fantastic achievements of Alessia and the women’s team this season.”

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