Egypt boss explains why Liverpool rejected Salah’s desperate Olympics plea

Liverpool refused to accept Mohamed Salah’s Olympic wishes due to his commitments at the African Cup of Nations next year.

Salah was reportedly desperate to turn out for Egypt in Tokyo this summer, but it has now been confirmed he will not join the Pharaohs squad.

Egypt under-23s boss Shawky Garib had made the Reds forward a key part of his Olympics plans, but has now been forced to move on.

Garib was due to name Salah as one of his three overage players, but Liverpool have now exercised their right to block his release to play in a non-Fifa-sanctioned competition.

Mohamed Salah hoped to be involved in Egypt’s Olympics squad

There had been discussion that the AFCON could be moved back due to the coronavirus pandemic, but with it now going forward in January 2022, Liverpool were unwilling to lose their star forward for two periods of the season.

“Salah wanted to participate in the Olympics, we were having informal contacts with him, but the negotiations stopped because of the AFCON,” Gharib said On Sport FM.

“If it had been postponed, Salah would have played with us. Liverpool clarified for the Egyptian Football Association when Salah will be available.”

He added: “I tried many, many times with Liverpool, as did the Egypt FA, to persuade them to let Salah be a part of the Olympic team but they refused completely.

“Mohamed wanted to play the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He talked with me, I did my best to bring him. Salah was a key player in my Olympic plans. But the club refused – we need to move on.”

Salah will join up with Egypt's squad for the African Cup of Nations in January
Salah will join up with Egypt’s squad for the African Cup of Nations in January

Salah is due to miss three Premier League games due to his involvement in the AFCON and would have likely been unavailable for the start of the campaign had he gone to the Olympics.

“We started talking with them a long time ago because Salah wanted to play the Olympic Games, but Liverpool were unclear,” Ahmed Megahed, chairman of the Egypt FA said.

“I knew in June they would not let him go. Anyway we respect their decision.”

There are a number of Premier League players set to appear in the Olympic Games, with Everton ’s Richarlison a key part of Brazil’s squad.

Arsenal ’s Gabriel Martinelli and Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz are also in the Selecao squad, while Manchester United have allowed Eric Bailly and Amad to play for Ivory Coast.

The tournament begins on July 22, with the Gold medal match taking place on August 7, days before the new league campaign begins.

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