Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

U.S. goalkeeper accuses former Federation Internationale de Football Association president of sexual harassment

U.S. goalkeeper accuses former Federation Internationale de Football Association president of sexual harassment

United States worldwide goalkeeper Hope Solo has accused ousted Federation Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter of "grabbing" her inappropriately at the Ballon d'Or ceremony in 2013.

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been accused of sexually assaulting Hope Solo, the US women's football team goalkeeper, at the Ballon d'Or awards ceremony in January 2013. She was presenting with the former head of the soccer organization, Sepp Blatter, who she said grabbed her.

"I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass".

She gave more details in the Guardian Friday about how Blatter grabbed her just before the two walked on stage. "I had to submit to my co-fellow [Abby Wambach, victor of the Golden Ball 2013, editor's note] the biggest prize of his career, and celebrate with it this time, so I dedicated all my attention", she also added.

"I was in shock and completely thrown off", Solo said talking about the incident.

Blatter has denied the accusation, with his spokesman telling The Guardian: "This allegation is ridiculous". "It can happen all across the board, it can happen between women", she continued.

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FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter talks with Hope Solo of United States of America after the FIFA Women's World Cup Final match between Japan and US at the FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Asked by Expresso whether, in light of recent revelations in the American entertainment industry, sexual harassment was an issue in women's football, Solo replied: "Of course it is".

"I've seen it not just with coaches, I've seen it with trainers, doctors, and our press officers".

"I'm actually very disappointed with the women who haven't spoken about it in the sports world... After [the ceremony] I have not seen and have not been able to confront it", said the sport.

"I've seen it throughout my entire career and I wish more female athletes would speak out about their own experiences". Over his years he faced criticism for a series of sexist remarks, including a suggestion in 2004 that female players could wear "tighter shorts" like "they do in volleyball" to make the game more appealing to a male audience.

The 36-year-old soccer star said that 81-year-old Blatter made the move as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach at the ceremony. "Say something! You are always speaking at home, now you can speak here".

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