Mo Salah vs The EFA: The Latest from the Dispute Threatening to Tear Egyptian Football Apart
Shade has been thrown from both sides as Salah and the EFA taking aim on social media.
Egyptian football star, Mohamed Salah, has reignited his dispute with the Egyptian Football Association, following claims by his lawyer and agent, Ramy Abbas, that the Liverpool forward was called up to the Egyptian National Team for September 9th's game against Niger on short notice. According to Egypt Independent, Abass then informed the EFA that Salah would not be involved in the match or its training camp. Taking this as what he believes to be the latest in a string of incidents, Abbas also stated a list of demands the EFA must fulfill if Mohamed Salah is to play in future matches.
Salah and his lawyer's recent flare up with the EFA comes after Abass attempted to contact the EFA on his behalf in order to make demands that they both deemed reasonable, however the EFA did not respond which lead to Salah heading to Twitter to voice his own displeasure and see what his fans thought.
الطبيعي أن أي اتحاد كرة يسعى لحل مشاكل لاعبيه حتى يوفروا له الراحة.. لكن في الحقيقة ما أراه عكس ذلك تمامًا.. ليس من الطبيعي أن يتم تجاهل رسائلي ورسائل المحامي الخاص بي ... لا أدري لماذا كل هذا؟ أليس لديكم الوقت الكافي للرد علينا؟!
Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) August 26, 2018
This tweet then lead to another storm with the EFA and several of its members denouncing Mohamed Salah for asking for 'special treatment' and that Abbas had used inappropriate and harsh language in his communications. Mohamed Salah's alleged demands were publicised in a press release by the EFA, among them the demand that Salah will no longer take part in any commercial activities relating to the Egyptian National Team.
The release of the above correspondence then prompted Salah to head to social media to maintain that the requests made are within reasonable expectations of any football association and reiterated that he did not want special treatment, but was speaking for the whole team.
A series of videos posted on Facebook by Salah after the response by the EFA stated that the team had been restricted and unable to move freely due to security constraints and additional (or any) security would allow them to at least eat in the hotel restaurant as they were unable to do during the World Cup in Russia. Salah also wanted respect for his privacy which was invaded again and again, particularly at the World Cup when fans came knocking again and again disturbing him until 6 AM at one point.
Then came a string of videos, in which Salah criticised lack of security at the World Cup, which, according to the player, rendered them unable to even eat at the hotel restaurant without being swarmed by fans - fans that also reportedly kept the Salah and his teammates up till 6AM at one point.
Salah questioned the priorities of the EFA, after officials flew to Russia in Business Class, while the team travelled in Eonomy Class. Salah also criticised the EFA for what he sees as disrespect aimed towards Abbas, with the Egyptian-Colombian being referred to as 'The Colomban Lawyer' by officials suggesting that he has something to gain from the dispute.
Salah has called on the board of the EFA to resign and it's unclear as to where this feud will go next, having started earlier this year, when Salah was found himself in breach of a contract with Vodafone, when his image was used on the team's official plane -provided by rival telecommunications company, WE - for the World Cup without permission.
Though the issues were eventually settled, the bad feelings between the two parties reached boiling point again, when Salah was seemingly forced into a photo-op with Chechen President, Ramzan Kadyrov, before receiving honorary Chechen citizenship at a gala dinner - all during Egypt's first World Cup in 28 years.
Questions were raised as to why the EFA would facilitate a meeting between it's star player - who was already facing a fight against time to recover from injury - and a man who has drawn criticism from all quarters for human rights offences. Many also questioned why the team was based in Chechnya to begin with; 2,601km away from Yekaterinburg where they played their first game against Uruguay, 2,563km away from St Petersburg where they played their second game against the hosts and 813km away from Volgograd where they finished their disappointing campaign against Saudi Arabia. By the end of Egypt’s run, the team had travelled almost 12,000km to-and-from games via bus.
At this point, there's a lot of he said, she said, though Egypt's Sports and Youth Minister, Ashraf Sobhi, has called for cooler heads to prevail, stating that he wants "to solve it [the problem] from its roots, given that it was preceded by several issues like the airplane copyright concern.” Sobhi then went on to proclaim that his goal is to ensure that "the player’s rights are protected, while his commitment to the national team is fulfilled.”
Main image from BT.com