US football star accuses Blatter of groping her

US national team goalkeeper Hope Solo and Mr Sepp Blatter at the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich.
US national team goalkeeper Hope Solo and Mr Sepp Blatter at the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich.PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

LISBON • United States women's football star Hope Solo has accused Mr Sepp Blatter of sexual assault, claiming that the disgraced former Fifa president groped her backside at the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony.

The 36-year-old Ms Solo, her country's standout goalkeeper, claimed on Friday that the 81-year-old Mr Blatter pounced as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach.

"Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass; it was a few years ago at the Ballon d'Or ceremony just before I got on stage," Ms Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso.

However Mr Blatter, told AFP the accusations were "absurd and ridiculous".

Ms Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, made the allegations on the sidelines of the Web Summit being held in Lisbon.

She said that sexual harassment at the hands of male officials was a common problem in women's football.

"I have seen this all of my career and I would like to see more athletes speak about their experiences," said Ms Solo.

ASSAULT CLAIMS

I have seen this all of my career and I would like to see more athletes speak about their experiences.

UNITED STATES WOMEN'S FOOTBALL STAR HOPE SOLO, who claimed that former Fifa president Sepp Blatter groped her backside at an awards ceremony in 2013.

"It's out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere," she added in reference to the firestorm of sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, politics and sport ever since the scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein unfolded.

Mr Blatter was president of Fifa - the international governing body of association football - from 1998 to 2015, until he was banned for corruption.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'US football star accuses Blatter of groping her'. Print Edition | Subscribe