Liverpool refuse to release Salah for Tokyo Olympics

The chairman of the Egypt Football Association has claimed that Mohamed Salah wanted to represent his country at the Tokyo Olympics – but Liverpool have refused to release him.

The men’s tournament will take place between July 21 and August 7 – ending one week before the start of the new Premier League season.

Liverpool kick off their 2021/22 campaign against Norwich City on August 14.

They, therefore, refused permission for Salah to join up with Egypt for the Olympics. The Reds also did likewise in the cases of Japan’s Takumi Minamino and France’s Ibrahima Konate.

Manchester United have released Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo to play for Ivory Coast.

As the Olympics tournament is not officially recognised on the FIFA calendar, clubs are not obliged to release their players.

Egypt FA chairman on Liverpool refusal

Liverpool have taken the decision to keep their players at home during pre-season – something which Egypt FA chairman Ahmed Megahed said he knew of in the case of Salah back in June.

He explained to BBC Sport Africa: “I knew in June they would not let him go.

“Anyway, we respect their decision.”

“I tried many, many times with Liverpool, as did the Egypt FA, to persuade them to let Salah be part of the Olympic team but they refused completely,” Egypt coach Shawky Gharib said.

“Mohamed wanted to play the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He talked to 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.”

Egypt last competed in the men’s tournament back in London 2012, where they were defeated by Japan in the quarter-finals.

Salah did in fact play in that tournament, shortly after signing for Swiss side Basel.

This time around, the nation qualified via winning the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations.

In only the third time the competition has been held, Egypt beat Ivory Coast in the final to seal their spot at the Games.

Egypt coach Gharib will be able to take a squad of 23 to Tokyo to contest for the Olympics crown – but will have to do so without the services of Salah.

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