(NEW YORK) — U.S. soccer star Hope Solo has accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulting her in 2013, according to a new interview with the Portugese newspaper Expresso.
Solo said he groped her at the Ballon d’Or award ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, before she went on stage to present FIFA’s women’s player of the year award to her teammate, Abby Wambach.
“I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass,” she told Expresso. “…right before I went on stage… It’s been normalized.”
A spokesman for Blatter said to Expresso and The Guardian that Solo’s allegation was “ridiculous.”
Solo told Expresso that “when things like that happen,” referring to Blatter’s alleged groping, she will “usually speak directly with the person.”
“In the case of Sepp Blatter, I went on the stage, I was nervous for the presentation… It was the Ballon D’Or I was presenting,” she said to Expresso. “After that I didn’t see him and that was kind of bad. I didn’t get to tell him directly “Don’t ever touch me!” That’s the way I’ve always handled things. Directly.”
Blatter, 81, served as president of FIFA from 1998-2015. He was suspended by the organization’s ethics committee in 2015 after an investigation into allegations of corruption and bribery among several top soccer officials.
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