Blatter says Hope Solo’s ‘grabbed backside’ claim is ‘absurd’


(FILES) This file photo taken on June 29, 2015 shows USA goalkeeper Hope Solo waiting for the ...
(FILES) This file photo taken on June 29, 2015 shows USA goalkeeper Hope Solo waiting for the start of a training session at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on the eve of USA 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup semifinal football match against Germany. US women's football star Hope Solo accused Sepp Blatter of sexual assault on November 10, 2017, claiming the disgraced former FIFA president groped her backside at the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony. The 36-year-old Solo, her country's standout goalkeeper, claimed the 81-year-old Blatter pounced as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

The former head of world football Sepp Blatter said Saturday that claims by US women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo that he had grabbed her backside were “absurd”.

Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso that then-FIFA president Blatter had sexually harassed her at the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony.

The 36-year-old Solo, her country’s standout goalkeeper, claimed 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,” Solo said.

However Blatter, 81, told AFP the accusations were “absurd and ridiculous”.

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 02, 2010 shows FIFA President Sepp Blatter holding up the name of Qatar during the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich. The opening this week of the glittering Louvre Abu Dhabi museum marks the latest stage in a multi-billion-dollar "soft power" showdown between energy giants Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Culture, media and sports have turned into battlegrounds for branding and global recognition.  / AFP PHOTO / Philippe DESMAZES
(FILES) This file photo taken on December 02, 2010 shows FIFA President Sepp Blatter holding up the name of Qatar during the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
The opening this week of the glittering Louvre Abu Dhabi museum marks the latest stage in a multi-billion-dollar “soft power” showdown between energy giants Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Culture, media and sports have turned into battlegrounds for branding and global recognition. AFP PHOTO / Philippe DESMAZES

 

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 Solo.

“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 since the scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein unfolded.

Solo made reference to the fact that female players sometimes married their US college coaches “which obviously a coach should not be doing, especially with a young player.”

Blatter was president of FIFA from 1998 to 2015 until he was banned for corruption.

The Swiss official ran FIFA with an iron hand and oversaw a period in which football’s premier tournament was hosted in Asia for the first time and he paved the way for it to be held in Qatar in 2022.

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 15, 2013 shows USA women's national football team goalkeeper Hope Solo warming up prior to the match against South Korea at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.    The former head of world football Sepp Blatter said on November 11, 2017 that claims by US women's goalkeeper Hope Solo that he had grabbed her backside were "absurd". Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso that then-FIFA president Blatter had sexually harassed her at the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony.  / AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Jared Wickerham
(FILES) This file photo taken on June 15, 2013 shows USA women’s national football team goalkeeper Hope Solo warming up prior to the match against South Korea at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The former head of world football Sepp Blatter said on November 11, 2017 that claims by US women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo that he had grabbed her backside were “absurd”. Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso that then-FIFA president Blatter had sexually harassed her at the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony.
/ AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Jared Wickerham

After the corruption allegations emerged, FIFA banned Blatter from the sport for eight years, a term later reduced to six years after appeal.

Blatter told AFP last month that he would attend next year’s World Cup finals in Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

 

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