Hope Solo, the U.S. women’s soccer (football) team’s standout goalkeeper, says that former FIFA president Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted her in 2013 at an awards event.
Blatter denied allegations Saturday that he had grabbed her backside, calling them “absurd.”
Speaking with Portuguese newspaper Expresso on Friday, the 36-year-old Solo said that the then-FIFA president had made his advance just before she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach at the Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, said that sexual harassment at the hands of male officials was a common problem in women’s professional soccer.
“I have seen this all of my career and I would like to see more athletes speak about their experiences,” she said, speaking on the sidelines of the Web Summit being held in Lisbon.
“It’s out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere,” she said, referencing the increasing number of harassment and assault allegations against men in the U.S. film industry.
Solo’s tenure with the national team ended last year after she called Sweden’s team “cowards” for a defensive style of play which led to their victory. She was suspended and has not returned.
Blatter, 81, served as president of FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, from 1998 to 2015, when he was banned for corruption.