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The 60-year-old has backtracked on his offensive comments, but the controversy is unlikely to end any time soon

Former France international Bernard Lacombe has apologised for telling a female RMC journalist that women should 'look after pots and pans' ahead of the World Cup qualifier between France and Spain.

The reporter asked Lacombe about Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema's form for the national side, to which the Olympique Lyonnais director replied with his sexist remark.

"I'm sorry if my statements have hurt women, and in particular to female athletes and footballers," Lacombe said in an official statement.

"My only intention was to reply to yet more criticism of Benzema. The way his qualities were questioned was cheap and unacceptable.

"I would have reacted with the same intensity if the criticism had come from a man, although obviously with different words."

The reporter had called Benzema 'a joke who has not scored for France since June 2012, refuses to sing the national anthem and is not a real representative of les Bleus.'

Nevertheless, Patrice Lair, the coach of Lyon's women team, was not impressed with Lacombe's apology as the controversy continues.

"I don't know exactly how my players feel about this, but I assume they do not like it. We'll see how they react on the pitch," she said.

"I still have a bad feeling about all this and I don't think it will go away any time soon. I do not like what he said and this will not be forgotten easily."

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