Mo Salah had a disappointing end to the season, suffering injury in the Champions League final, and subsequently a poor – and controversial – World Cup. The Anfield Talk’s Sam (@sammillnelfc) delves into the controversy…
Some of the information in this article comes courtesy of Tim Watson (@truthsayer_au).
Unfortunately for Salah and his international teammates, Egypt’s world cup didn’t go to plan. They finished their group with 0 points, with two narrow defeats being the only things they can take home from Russia. Mo Salah did manage to score two goals in two matches, despite being only partially fit, but Egypt’s other big names didn’t step up, causing them to be frustratingly difficult to watch at times.
The world cup has been one to forget for Salah for reasons other than football too though as well. Underlying cracks, between him and the Egyptian FA, have emerged.
The Egyptian FA is heavily politicized and is often controlled by the government. This can lead to the use of players as a tool for their own means. This has been seen before when the much-loved Mohamed Aboutrika. Following a series of incidents, where Aboutrika wasn’t exactly complimentary about the establishment, including instances where he supported ultras groups and the ousting of the old Egyptian government, he had accounts frozen. Then on 17th January 2017, Egypt added him to a terror list for alleged ties to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. This was almost certainly part of a smear campaign. Similar appears to be happening to our Mo.
For Salah, his problems started when President Sisi introduced a national ‘Money Box’ scheme in order to help pay off the country’s Nations Dept. The idea was that citizens donated to this pot. as an idol, Salah was asked to be the figurehead of the campaign. He refused, knowing that most of the money would properly end up in wealthy fat cats’ pockets. Subsequently, he was threatened with three years of military service. This forced Salah to donate more than one million Egyptian pounds.
Another issue arose more recently, in which the Egyptian FA’s main sponsor, ‘We’, used Salah’s image on the side of a plane. The problem was that Vodafone were believed to own Salah’s rights. Eventually, an unknown compromised was agreed between all parties, however, Sisi’s name comes up again. ‘We’ (or ‘Telecom Egypt’)is a telecom company owned by Egypt’s military, established by Sisi. It’s believed that the government-linked ‘We’ wanted Vodafone to fine Salah. In the process, Vodafone tried to fine ‘We’ as well, however, they refused to pay. This is another example of someone trying to influence Salah’s squeaky-clean image.
The most recent incident occurred when Salah was pictured with the notorious head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov has long been accused of abusing human rights. In 2017, the leader was quoted saying ‘’We don’t have any gays’’ and “Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.” The Egyptian FA set these photos up. The world seeing Salah with a homophobic devil was sure to harm his image and reputation.
Further proof of the Egyptian FA’s involvement in the photos and meetings is that despite the whole team being present, only pictures of Salah and Kadyrov were posted to the Egyptian FA’s social media pages.
Even worse for Salah, Kadyrov made Salah an honorary citizen of Chechnya.
Salah just had to stand by and let his image begin to be tarnished, despite his devotion to the Egyptian people and his incredible contribution to football in the country. Salah cannot change the supposed propaganda against him easily, as the government in Egypt control just about everything, including the media.
There are now reports that Salah may quit international football in response to his mistreatment. It would be heartbreak for the Egypt national team fans, however, it may be the right decision. It is for him to make.