Solo accuses Sepp Blatter of Sexual Harassment

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November 11, 2017
FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2013, file photo, Abby Wambach, left, of the United States is presented the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award by Hope Solo, center, goalkeeper of the U.S. team, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right, during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala held at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt, File)

(AP):

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 the newspaper Expresso, Solo said Blatter grabbed her rear end shortly before the two appeared onstage at the annual football awards event.

A representative for Solo confirmed yesterday 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 its 2015 Women's World Cup championship run, allowing just three goals in seven games with five clean sheets during the tournament.

For her career, Solo has made 202 total appearances with the national team, with 153 wins and an international-record 102 clean sheets.

Solo's tenure with the national team ended following last year's Olympics in Brazil, when the Americans were ousted by Sweden in the quarter-finals. Afterwards, Solo called the Swedish team "cowards" for their defensive style of play.

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She was suspended from the team shortly thereafter and has not returned.

Blatter was suspended from office and banned from football for six years following 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.

US forward Alex Morgan has said that Blatter failed to recognise her at the annual award 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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