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United States women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulting her in 2013, ESPN reported.
Solo told Expresso that Blatter grabbed her buttocks before the pair went on stage in 2013 to present an award to Solo’s teammate, Abby Wambach.
“It's been normalized,” Solo said of such behavior.
A representative for Blatter called the allegation “ridiculous” in a statement to Expresso and The Guardian.
Solo and Blatter walked onstage together in January 2013 to present the 2012 women's world player of the year award to Wambach.
“I was in shock and completely thrown off," Solo told The Guardian on Friday. “I had to quickly pull myself together to present my teammate with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby.”
Solo said she never saw Blatter again after the ceremony, ESPN reported.
“That was kind of bad,” she told Expresso. “I didn't get to tell him directly. ‘Don't ever touch me!’ That's the way I've always handled things. Directly.”
Blatter, now 81, was banned by FIFA in 2015 over a conflict of interest case.
“While in this instance it was Sepp Blatter, who was the most powerful man in football at the time, sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior are rampant at every level in women's sport, and it needs to stop,” Solo said.