'Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted me,' says former USA goalkeeper Hope Solo

'Sepp Blatter sexually assaulted me,' says former USA goalkeeper Hope Solo

Hope Solo, the former longtime U.S. Women's National Team goalkeeper, says ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter touched her inappropriately just before the two went on stage at an awards ceremony in 2013.

Solo was at the ceremony to present teammate Abby Wambach with the women's player of the year award.

"I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass".

Solo continued: "I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass".

She presented the Federation Internationale de Football Association women's world player of the year award alongside the 81-year-old at the glitzy ceremony.

Blatter could not immediately be reached for comment by the AP, but the embattled former head of soccer's governing body told the Guardian newspaper: "This allegation is ridiculous".

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"Yes, I've seen it throughout my entire career", Solo responded. The 36-year-old was suspended for six months by U.S. Soccer for calling Swedish players a "bunch of cowards" and has not returned to the team since.

Solo has taken to social media to praise those who have spoken out against sexual harassment using the hashtag #MeToo. 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 speak out directly [with people] when things like that happen".

"It's out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere", she added in reference to the firestorm of sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, politics and sport ever since the scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein unfolded.

It is not the first time Blatter, who won five elections as Federation Internationale de Football Association president between 1998 and 2015 before being banned for ethic breaches, has faced criticism for his treatment of women. That needs to change. In January 2004, Blatter suggested women should where "tighter shorts" because "female players are pretty".

Solo anchored the US team in goal during its 2015 Women's World Cup championship run, allowing just three goals in seven games with five shutouts during the tournament.

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