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

Hope Solo, the former goalie of the U.S. women's national soccer team, said the head of Federation Internationale de Football Association groped her in 2013 as they were about to present an award together.

Abby Wambach of the United States of America receives the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award from US teammate Hope Solo and FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2012 at the Kongresshaus on January 7, 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland. "It was at the Ballon D'or one year right before I went on stage".

Solo, who said she usually addresses harassment head on, said the circumstances prevented her from immediately confronting Blatter.

The 36-year-old expanded on the alleged incident when she told The Guardian: "I was in shock and completely thrown off".

Blatter, contacted via his spokesman, denied the claim, according to Expresso and The Guardian. She had to pull herself together quickly to give the award to Wambach.

Solo added she hopes other women athletes will speak up about their experiences.

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"Can I talk about that?" she continued.

Last month, Solo posted on Instagram in the wake of revelations about the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, and on Friday she reiterated her stance to the Guardian that more must be done to combat sexual harassment in women's sports.

However, Solo claimed it was an example of how sexual harassment had become commonplace in sport. I always felt I'd "handled it' and stood up for myself in those situations, but there were never any consequences for the perpetrators". I've seen it among players in the locker room.

"It can happen across the board, it can happen between women, it can happen anywhere", she said. "That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?"

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

Solo, who won the 2015 World Cup with the US, has been sidelined by an injury and has not played for the national team since a six-month suspension for criticizing opponents Sweden at the Olympics in 2016.

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