Liverpool’s Mo Salah falls out with Egyptian FA over image rights

Hatem Maher , Friday 27 Apr 2018

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Africa - Egypt vs Congo - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - October 8, 2017 Egypt’s Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring a goal REUTERS

Liverpool’s red-hot winger Mohamed Salah, an iconic figure in Egypt, has fallen out with the country’s football association over what his agent believes is the exploitation of his image rights by football authorities.

Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas, who is also the director of MS Commercial (Cayman), the entity that owns the player’s image rights, said his emails and letters to the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) went unanswered as he sought clarification on a number of issues.

Abbas was particularly concerned about an EgyptAir plane designed for the national team ahead of the World Cup, bearing the pictures of several players including Salah. He argued that the EFA and its sponsor, advertising agency Presentation, could not use Salah’s image without a written consent from MS Commercial.

“I hereby … demand that the image of Mohamed Salah be immediately removed from the Egypt Air aeroplane, and that the Egyptian Football Association, Presentation and its commercial partners immediately cease using, and/or authorizing the use of the image … without having obtained our express written consent,” Abbas wrote in a letter sent to the EFA last month and published by KingFut, an Egyptian sports website.

EFA officials were not immediately available to comment. The association has not released any statements about the matter.

Last week, Abbas said he had no option but to take to the social media to defend Salah’s rights, given that he received no replies.

He revealed that he had discussed the matter with Egyptian sports minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz but that the EFA still turned a deaf ear. 

“Date of last communication: 20 April 2018. Number of days elapsed without any response: 6, Next update tomorrow!” Abbas said on his Twitter account on Friday.

Salah support

While Salah, who has taken the Premier League by storm since joining Liverpool from Italian side AS Roma last summer, refrained from directly criticizing the EFA, he publicly stood by his agent.

He twitted a picture of himself alongside Abbas with the caption “full support” last week and denied on Friday a report saying the feud was about to be resolved.

The problem comes little less than two months before Egypt open their World Cup campaign against Uruguay as they end a 28-year wait for an appearance at the world’s most prestigious football showpiece.

The Pharaohs’ hopes of advancing beyond Group A, which also includes hosts Russia and Arab Gulf side Saudi Arabia, fall on the shoulders of Salah, a 25-year-old effervescent winger who played an instrumental role in helping the national team qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

In a dramatic and nerve-jangling qualifier against Congo last October in Alexandria, Salah made headlines with a well-taken double, including a stoppage-time penalty, which gave Egypt a 2-1 victory and lifted them to the Russia finals.

He is Egypt’s undisputed hero and one of their all-time leading top scorers with an impressive haul of 33 goals in 57 appearances.

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