London [U.K.], Nov 11: American goalkeeper Hope Solo has revealed that she was sexually assaulted by former Federation Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter at the Ballon d'or awards ceremony in January 2013. "Can-I-talk-about-that-">Portuguese newspaper Expresso she "had Sepp Blatter grab my ass" before the two presented FIFA's women's player of the year award at the 2013 Ballon d'Or awards ceremony.
She revealed: "I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass [turns towards her press assistant, Melinda Travis]".
Blatter, 81, was banned by Federation Internationale de Football Association for six years in 2015 after his involvement in the Federation Internationale de Football Association corruption scandal. "It was at the Ballon d'Or, right before I went on stage", Solo said.
Contacted by The Guardian, Hope Solo is back in more detail on the facts of this evening's Ballon d'or 2013, remembering having had to quickly find his spirits to be able to focus on his speech awarding the prize.
Speaking about her own incident, Solo explained what happened to her at the prestigious trophy ceremony during the interaction with Blatter.
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. I didn't get to tell him directly "don't ever touch me".
A Blatter spokesperson denied the incident took place, telling The Guardian, "This allegation is ridiculous". "Silence will not change the world!"
"I've seen it not just with coaches, I've seen it with trainers, doctors, and our press officers".
She added: "While in this instance it was Sepp Blatter, who was the most powerful man in football at the time, sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour are rampant at every level in women's sport and it needs to stop".
She said: "Yes, I've seen it throughout my entire career". I've seen it amongst players in the locker room. With Blatter, she said as it happened seconds before she went on stage, she was unable to confront him, did not have an opportunity to do so when they left the stage and has never seen him since.
Solo is the United States' record appearance-maker with 202 caps but was handed a six-month suspension by her national federation after branding Sweden's players "a bunch of cowards" in the aftermath of her team's 2016 Olympic quarter-final defeat on penalties.