By 90Min
November 11, 2017

Disgraced ex-Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been accused of sexual assault by veteran US women's goalkeeper Hope Solo.

The 36-year-old made the allegations to Portuguese newspaper Expresso, and claimed that Blatter made a pass at her as she prepared to present an award at the 2013 Ballon d'Or awards ceremony.

Blatter is the latest name to be linked with the growing sexual harassment saga that has seen hundreds of women come forward, from across all walks of life, to accuse men in positions of power of a variety of sexual harassment and assault claims.

Christof Koepsel/GettyImages

Speaking about her own incident, Solo explained what happened to her at the prestigious trophy ceremony during the interaction with Blatter.

She revealed: "I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass [turns towards her press assistant, Melinda Travis]. Can I talk about that? 

"It was at the Ballon d'Or one year], right before I went on stage... It's been normalized.

"I speak out directly [with people] when things like that happen. In other cases, for instance, I've told my teammates: 'Don't ever f*****g touch me! Don't do it'. 

"It has been in the showers, it's been in the locker room... I usually speak directly with the person. In the case of Sepp Blatter, I went on the stage, I was nervous for the presentation... It was the Ballon d'Or I was presenting.

"After that I didn't see him and that was kind of bad. I didn't get to tell him directly 'Don't ever touch me!' That's the way I've always handled things. Directly."

In a brief answer to the BBC when quizzed on the allegations, Blatter's spokesperson refuted the assertions made by Solo.

The spokesman said: "This allegation is ridiculous."

The scandal surrounding sexual harassment was sparked when a host of women made allegations about American film producer Harvey Weinstein, and the net has only widened to other industries in the weeks that followed.

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.

She said: "Yes, I've seen it throughout my entire career. And I wish more female athletes would speak out about their own experiences.

"It's rampant, it's not just in Hollywood, it's probably all over the place. I've seen it in sports. 

"For years, in the past, female players date and end up marrying their college coaches, which obviously a coach should not be doing, especially with a young player. 

"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 don't know why more players don't speak out against it."

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