Liverpool Football club and The Egyptian Football Association are at loggerheads after the Egyptian FA announced it will be adding star player Mo Salah to it’s list of players to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Egypt qualified for the tournament after reaching the 2019 U23 Africa Cup of Nations final in 2019, and as they are able to call upon three over-aged players, Salah was picked by The Olympic team coach Shawky Gharib.
The men’s tournament is scheduled to run from July 24 to August 9, ensuring Liverpool’s current leading goalscorer would miss the Reds’ pre-season and the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season – which is set to kick off on August 9.
“Out of the three senior players we’ll call-up, Salah is the only one we’re settled on so far because he’s simply one of the top three players in the world,” Gharib said, explaining his decision.
“I haven’t talked to Salah at all about him joining the U23 squad for the Olympics, but in all honesty, his participation in the Olympics will need a little effort from him as well.”
The news has reportedly angered bosses at Liverpool, who believe Salah missing the pre-season will have a negative impact on Liverpool as he is essential to their play and is one of their main men.
Klopp previously said of the possibility of Salah going to the Olympics”
”No decision made yet. Nothing really to say about it. What I have to say to Mo I will say to him and not here (in this press conference). That’s all. No decision made from either side, that’s all I can say.
“I wish we could have the whole squad together for pre-season which is not possible for different reasons – the Euro’s coming up, Copa America again. Yes, Olympic Games – it’s a wonderful tournament but would be not so cool. So far, no decision and you have to wait a little bit.”
Following reports on Wednesday that Klopp might not let Salah go for the Olympics as FIFA has previously acknowledged that clubs are not obliged to release over-age players for the competition – Egypt’s under 23 boss Gharib released a new statement that Salah’s participation will be dependent on Liverpool and Salah:
“Salah’s participation with the Pharaohs team is a decision to be taken only by Salah, his club Liverpool and his coach Jurgen Klopp.
“I have chosen him in an expanded list of 50 players. The final list of 18 players will be submitted next June.”
On Wednesday Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa tweeted: “No decision has been made yet.”