US women's soccer (association football) team goalkeeper Hope Solo has accused ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter of "grabbing her ass" during the 2013 Ballon d'Or women's player of the year awards ceremony in 2013.
"I went on the stage, I was nervous for the presentation… It was the Ballon d'Or I was presenting," she told Expresso in an exclusive interview.
Blatter's representative denied that the incident was merely a "ridiculous allegation," according to The Guardian.
Amid the ongoing sexual scandals rampaging Hollywood and the UK political landscape, the 36-year-old athlete has called on females who have experienced similar abuses to speak out and revealed the scope of the issue in sports.
"I think it is important to acknowledge that this doesn't just happen with the powerful white men. It can happen all across the board, it can happen between women, it can happen anywhere."
She shared her own sad memories:
"I had some bad experiences with players who are still on the team… I speak out directly [with people] when things like that happen. In other cases, for instance, I've told my teammates: ‘Don't ever fucking touch me! Don't do it.' It has been in the showers, it's been in the locker room…"
Hope Solo regretted that after her experience with Blatter, she didn't see him and "that was kind of bad":
"I didn't get to tell him directly 'Don't ever touch me!' That's the way I've always handled things. Directly."
Hope Solo has played more than 200 games with the US national team and won the Olympics in 2008 and 2012.
Blatter, 81, headed FIFA from 1998 to 2015 and had to leave amid a corruption scandal.