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  Sports   In Other sports  12 Nov 2017  Now, Sepp Blatter in sexual harassment scandal

Now, Sepp Blatter in sexual harassment scandal

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Published : Nov 12, 2017, 1:06 am IST
Updated : Nov 12, 2017, 1:06 am IST

Blatter also famously argued in 2004 that players could boost the popularity of the women's game by wearing tighter shorts.

A photo taken on January 7, 2013, shows Sepp Blatter (right) and Hope Solo (centre) presenting the Fifa Women’s World Player of the Year award to USA’s Abby Wambach in the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich. (Photo: AP)
 A photo taken on January 7, 2013, shows Sepp Blatter (right) and Hope Solo (centre) presenting the Fifa Women’s World Player of the Year award to USA’s Abby Wambach in the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich. (Photo: AP)

Lausanne: The former head of world football Sepp Blatter said today that claims by US women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo that he had grabbed her backside were “absurd”.

Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso that then-Fifa president Blatter had sexually harassed her at the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony.

 

The 36-year-old Solo, her country’s standout goalkeeper, claimed Blatter pounced as she was about to present an award to her team mate Abby Wambach.

“Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass, it was a few years ago at the Ballon d’Or ceremony just before I got on stage,” Solo said.

However Blatter, 81, said the accusations were “absurd and ridiculous”.

Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, made the allegations on the sidelines of the Web Summit being held in Lisbon.

She said that sexual harassment at the hands of male officials was a common problem in women’s football.

“I have seen this all of my career and I would like to see more athletes speak about their experiences,” said Solo.

 

“It’s out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere,” she added in reference to the firestorm of sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, politics and sport since the scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein unfolded.

Solo made reference to the fact that female players sometimes married their US college coaches “which obviously a coach should not be doing, especially with a young player.”

Blatter was president of Fifa from 1998 to 2015 until he was banned for corruption.

The Swiss official ran Fifa with an iron hand and oversaw a period in which football’s premier tournament was hosted in Asia for the first time and he paved the way for it to be held in Qatar in 2022.

 

After the corruption allegations emerged, Fifa banned Blatter from the sport for eight years, a term later reduced to six years after appeal.

Blatter said last month that he would attend next year’s World Cup finals in Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

Blatter has also had a history of what many consider to be sexist behavior concerning the women's game. U.S. forward Alex Morgan has said that Blatter failed to recognize her at the annual award event in 2012, even though she was one of three nominees for the women's Player of the Year.

Blatter also famously argued in 2004 that players could boost the popularity of the women's game by wearing tighter shorts. 

 

Tags: sexual harassment, sepp blatter