The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Monday that English Premier League side Liverpool will not allow winger Mohamed Salah to join the national team in their bid to qualify for the World Cup due to the United Kingdom’s recently imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Pharaohs will hold a closed training camp on 28 August in preparation for the games against Angola and Gabon in the 2022 African World Cup qualifiers.
Earlier last week, Egypt’s coach Hossam El-Badry called upon five foreign-based players for the preparatory camp, including Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
“We received a letter from Liverpool excusing Mohamed Salah from joining Egypt’s preparatory camp for the World Cup qualifiers,” read a statement by the EFA.
“The EFA are in direct contact with the FIFA to facilitate the process of allowing international players to join their national teams for the World Cup qualifiers,” the statement added.
The United Kingdom has imposed restrictions over travelers to mitigate the spread of the virus, with players leaving the country being required to self-quarantine for 10 days upon their return before resuming their day-to-day life.
Egypt is on Britain's red list, so Salah would be required to quarantine upon his return from Cairo and miss two Premier League games.
It’s not the first time Liverpool has refused a request like this from the EFA, as they refused to allow Salah to join the Egyptian Olympic team’s squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games last month on the grounds that it was not a FIFA associated tournament, which does not oblige them to release their players.
The FIFA updated its regulations in February 2021 as a result of the pandemic, giving teams the liberty to refuse to release their players for national team duties if there is a mandatory period of quarantine or self-isolation of at least five days upon arrival at their location or their return to the country where their club is located.
The regulations also confirmed that teams are not obliged to release players for any reason if there are travel restrictions to or from either location and specific exemptions from the relevant authorities that imposed these bars have not been granted to the players.
With that in mind, special arrangements may be required to facilitate Salah’s participation in the Pharaohs’ campaign to reach the World Cup.
Egypt’s national team will be facing Angola on 1 September, four days prior to playing against Gabon in Group F of the World Cup qualifiers.
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