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Hope Solo accuses Sepp Blatter of sexual assault

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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 presented the Federation Internationale de Football Association women's world player of the year award on stage alongside Blatter, to her colleague on the U.S. team that had won the gold medal at the London Olympics, the striker Abby Wambach.

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been accused of sexual assault by the USA Women's football team goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Contacted by The Guardian, Hope Solo is back in more detail on the facts of this evening's Ballon d'or 2013, remembering having had to quickly find his spirits to be able to focus on his speech awarding the prize.

"I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass", she said.

In the interview with Portuguese newspaper "Expresso", Solo claimed that the sexual assault had happened just moments before the pair went on stage together to present the award.

"This allegation is ridiculous", Blatter's spokesperson said in response.

"I was in shock and completely thrown off", Solo told the Guardian on Friday. In the case of Sepp Blatter, I got on the stage, I was nervous, I presented the Ballon d'or.

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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". 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 not just with coaches, I've seen it with trainers, doctors, and our press officers". I've seen it amongst players in the locker room.

"I'm actually very disappointed with the women who haven't spoken about it in the sports world..."

"After that I didn't see him and that was kind of bad".

Solo went on to add that sexual harassment was rife in all walks of life - claims she said she had witnessed with her own eyes - and stated that more needed to come forward with their stories to combat the "rampant" issue.

"I've seen it throughout my entire career and I wish more female athletes would speak out about their own experiences".

The 36-year-old soccer star said that 81-year-old Blatter made the move as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach at the ceremony. In 2004, he landed in hot water after saying women's soccer should use sex appeal as a way to grow the game.

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