By Kepha Muiruri ([email protected])
After sexual assault allegations against House of Cards star Kevin Spacey and Hollywood’s film director Harvey Weinstein, among others, a new sexual assault case has emerged on the other side of the Atlantic. This time, Hollywood royalty is not involved but instead, the sexual assault allegations have popped up amongst the highly ranked in the football world.
Former FédérationInternationale de Football Association (Fifa) President Sepp Blatter has been accused by former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo. Solo accused Blatter of assaulting her at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in January 2013.
In an interview with Portuguese paper Expresso, Solo said she “Had Sepp Blatter grab my behind” as she prepared to go on stage to present the Fifa Women’s player of the year award for 2012.
Solo further revealed that sexual harassment is an issue in women’s football, saying, “I’ve seen it throughout my entire career and I wish more female athletes would speak out about their own experiences. I’ve seen it in sports. I don’t know why more players don’t speak out.”
In retaliation, Sepp Blatter has adamantly denied Solo’s claims. Through his spokesperson, Blatter has refuted the allegations, describing them as “ridiculous”.
It remains to be seen whether more women will emerge with similar allegations against Blatter as has been the case with other accused sexual assault perpetrators like Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.
The allegations have further tainted the name of former Fifaboss who was banned by Fifa in relation to the payment of 2 million Swiss francs to former Union of European Football Associations Chief Michel Platini in 2015 that allegedly caused Platini not to run against him.