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Sepp Blatter says Hope Solo’s ‘grabbed a**’ claim is ‘absurd’

United States of America former goalkeeper Hope Solo has claimed that ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter sexually harassed her during the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony.

football Updated: Nov 11, 2017 17:23 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Lausanne
Sepp Blatter,Hope Solo,FIFA<
Abby Wambach (L) of the United States is presented the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award by Hope Solo (C) and then FIFA President Sepp Blatter (R) during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala held in Zurich in 2013.(AP)

The former head of world football Sepp Blatter said today 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.

READ | ‘He grabbed my a**’: US star accuses ex-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter of sexual assault

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 a**, 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”.

Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, made the allegations on the sidelines of the Web Summit being held in Lisbon.

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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.”

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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.

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.

First Published: Nov 11, 2017 17:07 IST