Former Egypt international Hazem Emam says dispute with star player over image rights will be resolved soon
Egyptian FA: we will try to make a deal with Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian Football Association say they are confident a resolution to the image-rights dispute with star player Mohamed Salah will soon be found.
The Liverpool forward, comfortably his country’s most high-profile footballer, has been involved in a disagreement with the FA since last April, when his image was used to promote the national team’s official telecommunications sponsor WE, despite having his own deal with rival company Vodafone.
The problem escalated in August, when Salah accused the FA of ignoring his complaints. At one point, reports suggested the 26 year old would consider retiring from international football.
On Wednesday, Hazem Emam, a celebrated former Egypt international who now sits on the FA board, said he was sure an agreement would be reached.
“It’s around the commercial stuff, but now we are talking with his lawyer and we will try to make a deal with him,” said Emam in Dubai, where he was promoting an event for Du Football Champions. “He’s our player, a big player - we know how he is.
"And now he’s a megastar not like before, he has some rights, we have some rights, and we try to compromise on what we can do. But for us he is always one of the best and we have all respect for him.
“We haven't had a megastar like that before in Egypt. He has details in contracts, details in life now because he has his own agency, so we try to deal with him about this.
“It’s difficult because it’s the first time, but he is a nice guy and we try to solve everything. We try to have a deal with him to make it easier to concentrate on the football more than this stuff.
“Now it’s in the paperwork. He’s always talking directly with our head of FA, [president] Hany Abo Rida, and now the minister of youth is also involved, and we all try to help him to come to a point together.”
Emam, who represented Egypt 87 times between 1995 and 2005, conceded the relationship between Salah and the FA had been broken, but that it was “now in a better way”.
Emam said he did not believe the ongoing issue had impacted negatively Salah’s performances on the pitch.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “He’s professional and now at a level where he knows how to work. This other stuff, I’d advise him - although he doesn’t need my advice - that concentrating on football would be better for him, because this is what makes him now Mohamed Salah, the best player in the Premier League last year.”