Egypt football star Salah signals progress in image dispute

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah attends a training session at the team's Melwood training complex in Liverpool, north west England, on April 23, 2018 on the eve of their first-leg UEFA Champions League semi-final football match against Roma.
AFP

Cairo (AFP) – An image rights storm that has seen star Mohamed Salah lash out at Egyptian football authorities is on the way to being settled, the Liverpool playmaker has signalled.

“We were promised a solution and God willing the issue is on its way to being resolved,” the midfield maestro tweeted late Sunday, while thanking his fans for their “unreal” support. 

The dispute has centred on an advertising campaign by the national team’s main sponsor, Telecom Egypt’s mobile arm WE, which has relied heavily on photos of Salah, who has his own contract with global telecom giant Vodafone.

An initial hint of major discord came on April 20, when Salah’s representative Ramy Abbas Issa tweeted “we are having a very serious issue with the Egyptian Football Association”. 

Salah had signalled his growing frustration earlier on Sunday by tweeting “unfortunately the way it is being dealt with is very insulting. I was hoping the interaction would be classier than this.”

Issa on Saturday complained that he and Salah had not even been contacted by the EFA. “Complete silence! What’s the plan?! We just see more and more billboards and ads coming out which we have never authorised!” he tweeted. 

But on Sunday Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abd Elaziz announced that “an agreement has been reached” with the football association “to carry out all the requests” by Salah.

“I affirm that we will all stand beside him to implement all the contracts he signed in England, so that he does not face any problems,” the minister said on his Twitter account.

The Twitter storm has marked a departure from Salah’s usual genteel online presence, which has generally been limited to photos of him in action and on the training field, or compliments for peers on the Liverpool and Egyptian national teams. 

The player has scored 43 goals so far this season, including a stunning brace in Liverpool’s 5-2 Champions League semi-final first leg demolition of Roma earlier this month.  

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