Salah revives image rights dispute

Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has revived a dispute with his country’s football association and accused them of ignoring his complaints over image rights.

A partially damaged mural depicting Liverpool's Egyptian soccer player Mohamed Salah is seen in a tunnel in Cairo, Egypt August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

The 26-year-old was upset in April when his image was used to promote Egypt’s official sponsor WE, while Salah has a sponsorship deal with rival company Vodafone.

“It’s normal that a football federation seeks to solve the problems of its players so they can feel comfortable. But in fact, what I see is exactly the opposite,” Salah said on Twitter.

“It is not normal that my messages and my lawyer’s messages are ignored. I don’t know why all this (is happening). Do you not have time to respond to us?!”

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said in a statement it would address a letter sent by Salah’s lawyer, Ramy Abbas, on Monday.

Abbas also tweeted: “We asked for guarantees regarding Mohamed’s wellbeing whilst with the national team, and assurances that the image rights violations wouldn’t happen again. That’s all. They have yet to respond.”

Salah’s relationship with the association was further strained when he was alleged to be used as a political symbol when based in Chechnya with the World Cup squad.

He is said to have been particularly unhappy about a dinner banquet hosted by Ramzan Kadyrov, the Russian head of the Chechen Republic, in which he granted the Egyptian “honorary citizenship.”

Salah was criticised for posing for photos with Kadyrov, who has repeatedly been accused of human rights abuses, including torture and the killing of political opponents, allegations Kadyrov denies. Salah is expected to be called up for Egypt’s next international, an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger on Sept. 8.

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is leading the calls for members of the Egyptian board to resign over Salah’s treatment. “Treating an Egyptian figure like Mohamed Salah who raised his country’s name in an unprecedented way should not have been like that. Resign and relieve us after the abject failure,” Sawiris tweeted.

 

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