Mohamed Salah is said to be considering quitting the Egypt national team after events in Chechnya during the World Cup has seen some claim he is being politically used by the Egyptian FA.
Salah was pictured with Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been accused of torture, prior to the tournament beginning.
According to the Independent, “Rights groups and Western governments allege that authorities in Chechnya repress their political opponents, discriminate against women and persecute sexual minorities, all allegations that Chechnya’s leaders deny.”
In 2017 it was claimed that Chechnya launched an anti-gay campaign that led to authorities rounding up dozens of men suspected of being homosexual.
That original photo opportunity with Salah is said to have been created after Kadyrov drove to Salah’s hotel to collect the star player and request his presence at training, despite the Egyptian not being involved in the session and instead resting due to his shoulder injury.
That has been followed by Kadyrov granting honorary citizenship to Salah at a banquet on Friday night, as reported by Sky Sports.
Liverpool’s LGBT rights group, Kop Outs, released a statement saying:
“We utterly condemn the acceptance by Mo Salah of any honour from Ramzan Kadyrov’s Chechnya.
“Mo and all players have a responsibility to uphold human rights and should set standards of behaviour.
“We ask him to return the honorary citizenship as an acknowledgement of the persecution of LGBT+ people in Chechnya.”
It’s claimed by CNN that Salah is considering, or did consider, quitting the Egypt national team after the events of the past fortnight.
Prior to the tournament, Salah and his agent were involved in a dispute with the Egyptian FA over Salah’s image rights.
Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas, tweeted on Saturday: “When it was once said that a picture speaks a thousand words, apparently not. So here are the words: Regardless of background, ethnicity, orientation, preferences, everyone deserves respect, and equal rights. #RespectForAll”
When it was once said that a picture speaks a thousand words, apparently not. So here are the words: Regardless of background, ethnicity, orientation, preferences, everyone deserves respect, and equal rights. #RespectForAll
— Ramy Abbas Issa (@RamyCol) June 23, 2018
The Egyptian FA tweeted a photo of Salah alongside Kadyrov on Friday at the banquet where he was given honorary citizenship.
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— EFA.eg (@EFA) June 22, 2018
UPDATE: This news is now being reported by several outlets, including ESPN and the Independent; it’s claimed that Salah will consider his international future after the World Cup.