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US goalie Hope Solo accuses former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of grabbing her

New Delhi: The #MeToo campaign has probably got its first revelation from a sportswoman after the United States women’s football team goalkeeper Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulting her at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in January 2013.

In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Expresso, Solo said claimed she “had Sepp Blatter grab my ass” shortly before the two appeared onstage at the annual awards for achievement during 2012. The ceremony was hosted by Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit and the broadcaster Kay Murray.

Solo was present on the stage alongside Blatter to present the FIFA Women’s World Player of The Year award to her USA teammate Abby Wambach.

She said that Blatter grabbed her behind seconds before they both went on stage. The 36-year-old added that sexual harassment is “rampant” in sports.

“I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass,” she said. “It was at the Ballon d’Or, right before I went on stage. [Sexual harassment] has been normalised,” she said.

Earlier, she congratulated the women who had spoken out against sexual harassment and wrote with the #MeToo hashtag in an Instagram post.

#MeToo started with an expose detailing allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. But, it soon became the rallying cry against sexual assault and harassment.

Blatter, once regarded as the most powerful man in football, was the president of FIFA from 1998 until 2015 until he was banned for corruption. On 21st December 2015, FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned Blatter, and UEFA President, Michel Platini, from all football-related activities for a period of 8 years.

It found both guilty of a series of breaches including a conflict of interest and “disloyal payments” of £1.35 million from Blatter to Platini in 2011.

Regarded as one of the greatest female goalkeepers, Solo has won two Olympic gold medals — in 2008 and 2012, and a World Cup (2015) winner.

She is the most capped goalkeeper in US football history with 202 appearances.

But she has got her share or notoriety.

In 2014, Hope was arrested on domestic violence charges but the case was dropped the next year. Last year, the US Soccer Federation suspended her for six months after she described Swedish players as “a bunch of cowards” after the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Source: Zee News