Why We Should All Support Mohamed Salah in His Battle Against the EFA

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Mohamed Salah is facing a serious problem with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA). The issue was made public after Mohamed Salah and his lawyer, Ramy Abbas Issa, both took to Twitter two days ago to express their frustration with the EFA, which according to them does not respond to any of their requests or e-mails regarding the player’s comfort and wellbeing. As expected, Twitter reacted instantly, mostly supporting the Liverpool star and vowing to stand by his side.

Things got much more heated yesterday after the EFA held a press conference to address the dilemma and offer its response. To sum up the conference; speaker Ahmed Megahed started off by criticizing Issa’s e-mail to the EFA as it included direct threats to the board, and also stressed on the fact that the association did not directly communicate with Salah. He also revealed the requests made by Salah’s lawyer, calling some of them exaggerated and unacceptable. These requests, according to the EFA, included the presence of a body guard both outside of the footballer’s room and by the lift, separate and secure transportation from the airport to the hotel room, as well as the prevention of any meet and greets or autographs and pictures that could delay the player in any way.

Shortly after the press conference, Issa slammed the EFA in a series of tweets both in English and Arabic, offering a clearer explanation of his demands and their necessity.

“The only way to make our requests seem unreasonable is by distorting them,” he started off, before clarifying that there was never a request made for Salah to be transported separately from the team and that the presence of body guards is the only guarantee that nobody would knock on his client’s door at four am to ask for a picture or autograph. Issa also made sure to stress on the fact that he is not asking for any special treatment and would indeed be glad if the rest of the team members are granted the same requests.

The EFA then posted a statement on their twitter page to stress on their disapproval of Issa’s e-mails to them (again), this time calling him a “third party” trying to cause trouble between them and “one of their children” (Mohamed Salah). They also wrote that they would not accept any wishes aiming to differentiate between the national team players.

At around 9 pm yesterday, Salah posted three videos on Facebook to tell his side of story, basically reinforcing his lawyer’s points again as well as discussing some of the difficulties he, as well as all of his team, had to go through during their ‘closed’ camp at the World Cup, which included random hotel room visits in the early hours of the morning and uncomfortable Economy plane rides that lasted for seven to eight hours. He also strongly condemned the attempts of portraying him as disloyal, as everyone knows how highly he regards his country. Another thing he complained about was the leaking of the letter sent by his lawyer and representative and the attempts of depicting him as the main reason behind the issue instead of trying to find a solution to the problem.

Since then, no official move has been made from either side, but fans everywhere have been reacting to the problem; some of them even calling for the resignation of the EFA board.

Now, why should we all be supporting Salah in his battle against the EFA?

Salah’s latest battle with the EFA does not only put the association’s disregard to their players’ comfort on display, but it also opens the door for a discussion that has been delayed ever since the World Cup failure.

During his videos, Salah recalled not being able to go to sleep till six am during the national team’s ‘closed’ camp in Russia due to random visits to his hotel room, as well as not being able to have dinner because of the overcrowdedness at the hotel the team was staying at.

So my question is: why are some people still trying to protect this board? I mean, if the EFA hasn’t already proven its complete incompetence during the World Cup, then it sure confirmed it with how it chose to handle the situation at hand.

After being put on blast for ignoring all requests from a world class player, who will soon be on a plane to attend the UEFA player of the year awards after his nomination, the EFA is still refusing to take any responsibility for their actions and is instead looking for cheap ways to once again wiggle their way out of a mess.

The first thing the EFA did was make it sound as if Salah and his lawyer were asking for special treatment that would put him above the rest of his teammates. This sounds kind of ironic to me, as the EFA single handedly chose to use Salah for their own selfish purposes numerous times without caring about how that would affect him or the team. Wasn’t that special treatment as well, but a negative one?

My favorite part about all the statements made by the EFA is when they refer to Issa as ‘Colombian’ third party that is purposely trying to create a tension between them and their beloved Egyptian. Obviously I don’t need to go into the details of explaining that Issa is in fact merely doing his job of looking out for his client’s needs and representing him, as he should. I want to, however, praise the association for getting creative and resolving to the ‘conspiracy theory’ that is every Egyptian’s go-to solution for denying any responsibility. But even if you want to go down that road, then it’s actually sad that the Colombian has to go through all of this to guarantee Salah’s comfort while he’s on international duty with Egypt.

Honestly, this is not even just about Salah anymore; this is about putting a stop to corrupt people in charge who shamelessly exploit their players without any consequences. If they had any ounce of decency they would look after their team’s comfort instead of trying to think of all the ways they could use them.

It’s important that we realize that those who truly represent Egypt are the men on the football field and not figureheads in an association; those only exist to correctly manage and look out for the players, and if they fail to do so then they should be called out and held accountable.

This is our chance to ask for change. The Egyptian Football Association should be a safety net for its players, not the monster out to get them.

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