Hope Solo says Blatter grabbed her; he calls it ‘ridiculous’
Hope Solo says former FIFA President Sepp Blatter grabbed her rear shortly before the two were to appear on stage at a prestigious soccer ceremony four years ago. A representative for Blatter called the allegation “ridiculous.”
In an interview published Friday (Saturday Manila time) in the Portuguese newspaper Expresso, the former goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s national team recounted what happened at the Ballon d’Or awards in 2013 in Zurich.
A representative for Solo confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that the report was accurate and said the player had no further comment.
Blatter spokesman Thomas Renggli messaged the AP on Saturday (Sunday Manila time): “This allegation is ridiculous.”
The remarks by Solo come amid a torrent of accusations by women of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment and media industries.
Solo anchored the U.S. team in goal during its 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 time with the national team ended following last year’s Olympics in Brazil, where the Americans were ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals. Afterward, Solo called the Swedish team “cowards” for its defensive play.
She was suspended from the team shortly thereafter and has not returned. She was dogged throughout her career with controversies, including a 2014 domestic violence case involving a family member’s home in Washington state.
Blatter was suspended as head of soccer’s governing body for six years following allegations of widespread corruption in a scandal that came to light in 2015. U.S. and Swiss officials cooperated in the investigation, which is ongoing, and more than 40 people have been indicted.
Blatter has had a history of what many consider to be sexist behavior concerning the women’s game.
U.S. forward Alex Morgan has said that Blatter failed to recognize her at the annual awards event in 2012, even though she was one of three nominees for the women’s Player of the Year.
Blatter also famously argued in 2004 that players could boost the popularity of the women’s game by wearing tighter shorts.
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