On Friday afternoon part of an interview Hope Solo conducted with Portuguese paper Expresso was published, wherein the former USWNT goalkeeper stated that ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted her in the moments before the two of them presented an award together at the January 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Solo relayed her account after Expresso asked her about the overall issue of sexual harassment in sports. At that point the following exchange went down, as transcribed by Deadspin:
Expresso: Do you think we are at a tipping point of change in society towards these issues? Do you believe the Pandora box has been opened? Everyone knew this was going on for years, in fashion, in sports, in business, but no one was talking about it.
Hope Solo: I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass.
HS: You know Sepp Blatter?
E: Of course.
HS: OK. I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass [turns towards her press assistant, Melinda Travis]. Can I talk about that? It was at the Ballon D’or one year [Solo presented the FIFA’s women’s player of the year award in January 2013 and shared the stage with the now disgraced former FIFA president], right before I went on stage... It’s been normalized.
When asked why she didn't come forward with a report of this incident sooner, Solo said that she attempts to directly confront people if such an event were to go down. But she says that, in this instance, she wasn't able to do that since it happened moments before she and Blatter walked onto the stage, that she didn't have a chance to do it when they got off stage, and that she hasn't seen him since.
Recently Solo had taken to her Instagram to show support for the #MeToo campaign, where she seems to have alluded to Blatter's conduct in her caption:
As for Blatter, he has denied Solo's claim and, through a spokesman, said "This allegation is ridiculous."