Longtime U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo says former FIFA president Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted her at a 2013 awards ceremony, according to The Guardian.
Solo told Portuguese publication Expresso that Blatter grabbed her "ass" at the January 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony. Blatter denied the allegation to The Guardian.
"I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass," Solo told Expresso. "It was at the Ballon d'Or, right before I went on stage."
Solo was in attendance that night to present the FIFA women's world player of the year award to USWNT striker Abby Wambach. She was accompanied on stage by Blatter.
“I was in shock and completely thrown off,” Solo told The Guardian, referring to the alleged assault.
Solo offered her support for the "#MeToo" campaign in an Instagram post last month, saying she and other players have had to deal with "inappropriate comments, unwanted advances and grabs of the ass" from "trainers, doctors, coaches, executives and even teammates."
In her interview with The Guardian, Solo said "sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior are rampant" in sports.
Blatter, 81, resigned as FIFA president in June 2015 in the wake of a corruption scandal shortly after winning a fifth term. In 2004, he suggested female soccer players could wear "more feminine clothes," including "tighter shorts." He has also made several sexist comments in public.
Solo, who hasn't played for the national team since a 2016 suspension, has more caps and wins than any other goalkeeper in women's soccer history, helping the U.S. women's national team win the World Cup in 2015 and the Olympics in 2008 and 2012.