Sepp Blatter, the disgraced former FIFA president who once suggested female players wear tighter shorts to promote “a more female aesthetic” in the women’s game, has dismissed Hope Solo’s claims of sexual assault at the 2013 Ballon d’Or award ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland.
“I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass,” Solo told Expresso in an interview published on November 10. “…It was at the Ballon d’Or one year, right before I went on stage.”
Blatter has now denied those allegations in an interview with SFR Sport, calling the claims “absurd.”
“It’s so absurd,” Blatter said. “It’s absurd for you, for your editorial board to go on about a theme about this lady. Look at her CV and you’ll see I’m right, it’s absurd. You have to go and look. It’s not up to me to declare the difficulties that she has had in her life, and why she has had all those difficulties. She’s not credible to say things like that, it’s absurd, it’s absurd.”
Speaking with the Guardian shortly after her interview with Expresso, Solo elaborated on that night in Zurich.
“I was in shock and completely thrown off,” she said. “I had to quickly pull myself together to present my teammate with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby [Wambach].”
Blatter was banned from football for eight years by FIFA’s ethics committee in 2015 over a conflict of interest in relation to payments made to UEFA president Michel Platini. That suspension was upheld following an appeal in February 2016, but Blatter’s sentence was reduced from eight years to six.