Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Hope Solo accuses Sepp Blatter of sexual assault

Getty Image Getty Image
Angelica Greene | 12 November, 2017, 01:23

Hope Solo says former FIFA President Sepp Blatter grabbed her rear shortly before the two were to appear on stage at a prestigious soccer ceremony four years ago.

In 2012, USA forward Alex Morgan said that Blatter failed to recognize her during that year's Ballon d'Or, even though she was one of three nominees for the women's Player of the Year. She was presenting with the former head of the soccer organization, Sepp Blatter, who she said grabbed her.

On the official Fifa film of the event, which was hosted by the Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit and the broadcaster Kay Murray, Solo was shown coming on to the stage with Blatter from behind a curtain at the back of the stage, to present the award to Wambach. "I had to quickly pull myself together to present my team-mate with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby".

"I was in shock and completely thrown off", Solo said talking about the incident.

Disgraced former Federation Internationale de Football Association chief Blatter, via his spokesman, described the allegation as "ridiculous".

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FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter talks with Hope Solo of United States of America after the FIFA Women's World Cup Final match between Japan and US at the FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. "[Sexual harassment] has been normalised", the Guardian quoted Solo, as saying.

Solo went on to add that sexual harassment was rife in all walks of life - claims she said she had witnessed with her own eyes - and stated that more needed to come forward with their stories to combat the "rampant" issue.

"I've seen it in sports".

"From inappropriate comments, unwanted advances and grabs of the ass to coaches and GMs and even press officers speaking about players" "tits" and physical appearance, sexual harassment is rampant in the sports world", she wrote on Instagram. "After [the ceremony] I have not seen and have not been able to confront it", said the sport. And I wish more female athletes would speak out about their own experiences. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men - such as playing with a lighter ball.

The 81-year-old was in charge of world football's governing body between 1998 and 2015, at which point he was forced to resign due to a corruption scandal and banned from all football activity for six years.

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