Hopo Solo, the 36-year-old U.S. goalkeeper has accused former Federation Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter of sexual harassment.
Hope Solo and Sepp Blatter, FIFA president announce Abby Wambach of United States as the victor of the FIFA womens player of the year trophy during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2013 at Congress House on January 07, 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland.
"I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass", she said.
The 36-year-old soccer star said that 81-year-old Blatter made the move as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach at the ceremony. "It was at the Ballon d'Or, right before I went on stage", Solo said.
Solo and Blatter presented the Federation Internationale de Football Association women's player of the year award to Solo's US national team teammate Abby Wambach at the ceremony on January 07, 2013, in Zurich. "[Sexual harassment] has been normalised", the Guardian quoted Solo, as saying.
Expanding on the alleged incident on Friday, Solo told the Guardianthat she had to compose herself immediately afterwards to concentrate on making her speech and giving the presentation to Wambach.
Solo, the most capped goalkeeper in USA football history with 202 appearances, including in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic- and 2015 World Cup-winning teams, spoke out last month about sexual harassment in sport, following the revelations about the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. She said she hasn't seen him since.
Blatter has responded to the allegation as "ridiculous". "I had to submit to my co-fellow [Abby Wambach, victor of the Golden Ball 2013, editor's note] the biggest prize of his career, and celebrate with it this time, so I dedicated all my attention", she also added. Solo used the opportunity to write about the "rampant" culture of harassment in sports.
"I've seen it in sports. Silence will not change the world!"
When asked why she had never brought it up previously, Solo admitted it is because she usually like to take it up with the person directly, rather than flush it out to the press. In 2004, he argued that the popularity of the women's game could be boosted if the players wore tighter shorts. "I don't know why more players don't speak out against it". 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.