Blatter grabbed my bum, claims US star
Hope Solo told a Portuguese newspaper that former Fifa President Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted her at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in 2013.
In an interview published yesterday in Expresso, Solo said Blatter grabbed her rear end shortly before the two appeared onstage at the annual awards event.
A representative for Solo confirmed to the Associated Press that the report was accurate and said the former goalkeeper for the US women’s national team had no further comment on the matter.
Blatter could not immediately be reached for comment by the AP, but the embattled former head of football’s governing body told the Guardian newspaper: “This allegation is ridiculous.”
Solo anchored the US team in goal during their 2015 Women’s World Cup championship run, allowing just three goals in seven games with five shutouts during the tournament.
For her career, Solo has made 202 total appearances with the national team, with 153 wins and an international-record 102 shutouts. Solo’s tenure with the national team ended after last year’s Olympics in Brazil, when the Americans were ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals. Solo called the Swedish team “cowards” for their defensive style of play. She was suspended from the team shortly thereafter and has not returned. Blatter was suspended from office and banned from football for six years after allegations of a widespread corruption scandal that came to light in 2015. Both US and Swiss officials cooperated in the investigation, which is ongoing, and more than 40 people have been indicted. Blatter has also had a history of what many consider to be sexist behaviour concerning the women’s game. He famously argued in 2004 that players could boost the popularity of the women’s game by wearing tighter shorts.
Hope Solo helped the US win the World Cup.