Hope Solo Accuses Ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter of Sexual Assault

USA goalkeeper Hope Solo has accused Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulting her at the Ballon d’Or awards in 2013.

2 min read
FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Abby Wambach of the USA (L) shakes hands with FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) as her compatriot Hope Solo presents her the trophy during the FIFA Ballon d’Or in Zurich in January 2013.

USA women's team goalkeeper 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 on 10 November in the newspaper Expresso, Solo said Blatter grabbed her rear end shortly before the two appeared onstage at the annual soccer awards event.

A representative for Solo confirmed on 10 November to The Associated Press that the report was accurate and said the goalkeeper for the US women's national team had no further comment on the matter.

Blatter could not immediately be reached for comment by AP, but the embattled former head of soccer's governing body told the Guardian newspaper: "This allegation is ridiculous".

Solo has been dogged by a number of off-the-field controversies. Notably, a domestic violence case stemming from a 2014 altercation at a family member's home in the Washington state.

Solo anchored the US team in the goal during its 2015 Women's World Cup championship run, conceding just three goals in seven games with five shutouts during the tournament.

In her career, Solo has made 202 total appearances with the national team, with 153 wins.

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. Afterward, Solo called the Swedish team "cowards" for their defensive style of play.

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

Blatter was suspended from office and banned from soccer 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 behavior concerning the women's game.

US forward Alex Morgan has said that Blatter failed to recognize 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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