Hope Solo says Blatter grabbed her; he calls it 'ridiculous'

Hope Solo says Blatter grabbed her; he calls it 'ridiculous'

Hope Solo, a star goalkeeper and former member of the USA football team, accused former FIFA President Sepp Blatter of sexually harassing her, in an interview published on Friday.

Solo was presenting the Federation Internationale de Football Association women's player of the year award alongside Blatter, to her U.S. teammate striker Abby Wambach.

In an interview with Portuguese paper Expresso that will run Saturday, the 36-year-old Solo, a Richland native, said Blatter assaulted her just before both of them took the stage at the 2012 Ballon d'Or awards, according to The Guardian.

Blatter, 81, won five elections as president of Federation Internationale de Football Association from 1998 until 2015, until he was banned by the organisation for ethics breaches relating to a 2m CHF payment made to the then Uefa president Michel Platini in 2011. "It was at the Ballon d'Or, right before I went on stage... it [sexual harassment] has been normalised".

Solo, a World Cup victor and two-time Olympic champion, said sexual harassment in sport was "rampant" and that she hoped more athletes would speak out against it.

The remarks by Solo come amid a torrent of accusations by women of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment and media industries.

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Blatter has had a history of what many consider to be sexist behavior concerning the women's game. I didn't get to tell him directly "don't ever touch me". She had to pull herself together quickly to give the award to Wambach.

In a brief answer to the BBC when quizzed on the allegations, Blatter's spokesperson refuted the assertions made by Solo. "Silence will not change the world!"

She added: "While in this instance it was Sepp Blatter, who was the most powerful man in football at the time, sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour are rampant at every level in women's sport and it needs to stop".

"I've seen it not just with coaches, I've seen it with trainers, doctors, and our press officers. After [the ceremony] I have not seen and have not been able to confront it", said the sport. I've seen it amongst players in the locker room.

"I'm actually very disappointed with the women who haven't spoken about it in the sports world", Solo told Expresso. In 2013, he called a female candidate for Fifa's executive committee "good, and good looking". "Say something! You are always speaking at home, now you can speak here".