Hope Solo: "Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass."
Former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo has accused then-FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, of sexually assaulting her in 2013. During an interview with Portuguese publication Expresso, Solo says the incident took place at a Ballon D'Or Gala.
Solo alleges that Blatter grabbed her ass right before she went on stage to present an award.
"I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass," Solo told Expresso. "... It was at the Ballon d'Or one year, right before I went on stage... It's been normalized."
"I was in shock and completely thrown off," Solo told the Guardian. "I had to quickly pull myself together to present my teammate with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby."
Solo added that she never saw Blatter again after the ceremony and was pissed she wasn't able to "tell him directly 'Don't ever touch me!'
"That's the way I've always handled things. Directly," she said.
Hope Solo told a Portuguese newspaper that ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted her in 2013: https://t.co/gYc3T2pVDD— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 10, 2017
Blatter, now 81, was banned by FIFA in 2015 after serving as president since 1998. According to ESPN, in 2004, he was criticised for saying women's players should consider wearing more revealing uniforms, such as skimpier shorts, to bring more attention to the game.
Last month, Hope Solo took to Instagram to show support for the ongoing #MeToo campaign, which aims to raise awareness of sexual assault and harassment. In the caption of her post, she gave several instances of harassment that she has endured, including one that seems to be in reference to Sepp Blatter's actions.
Solo, who won the 2015 World Cup with the U.S. and two gold medals in the Olympics, has been sidelined by and injury and has not played for the national team since her six-month suspension for criticizing Sweden at the 2016 Olympics.
For the past few days, I have been thinking about all the uncomfortable situations myself and/or my teammates have experienced throughout the years with trainers, doctors, coaches, executives and even teammates. From inappropriate comments, unwanted advances and grabs of the ass to coaches and GMs and even press officers speaking about players "tits” and physical appearance, sexual harassment is rampant in the sports world. I always felt I’d “handled it” and stood up for myself in those situations, but there were never any consequences for the perpetrators. That needs to change. Silence will not change the world! #MeToo