World Cup victor Hope Solo accuses Sepp Blatter of sexual assault

Solo- seen here presenting the female player of the year award to Abby Wambach- said she had to swallow her anger and press on so as not to spoil her friend's big moment

Solo, who was kicked off the national team past year following several controversies, the last being her calling Sweden's players a "bunch of cowards", said, "I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass".

The 36-year-old Solo, her country's standout goalkeeper, claimed the 81-year-old Blatter pounced as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach.

"It was at the Ballon D'or one year, right before I went on stage", Solo said of the alleged assault.

Blatter denied the incident took place and responded, via a spokesman, to say: "This allegation is ridiculous".

The Guardian contacted the player to expand on what had happened and she told them: "I was in shock and completely thrown off".

Asked by Expresso whether, in light of recent revelations in the American entertainment industry, sexual harassment was an issue in women's football, Solo replied: "Of course it is".

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"I had some bad experiences with players who are still on the team".

A representative for Solo confirmed Friday to The Associated Press that the report was accurate and that the former goalkeeper for the US women's national team had no further comment on the matter.

"I had to quickly pull myself together to present my team-mate with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby".

On October 16, Solo joined in the #MeToo hashtag campaign, created to highlight the breadth of sexual harassment occurring to women across society. "From inappropriate comments, unwanted advances and grabs of the ass to coaches and [general managers] and even press officers speaking about players" "tits" and physical appearance, sexual harassment is rampant in the sports world. Silence will not change the world! I've seen it among players in the locker room.

"Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball", Blatter said.

Blatter was then one of soccer's most powerful figures; he has since been banned from Federation Internationale de Football Association amid a widespread corruption scandal.

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