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It’s Reds’ red card for Mohamed Salah’s Tokyo Olympics hopes

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Liverpool have reportedly rejected Mohamed Salah’s and Egypt’s pleas to allow him to travel to this summer’s Olympics meaning he will remain in England ahead of the Premier League season

The delayed games will take place this summer and the Reds forward had hoped to represent his country.

Clubs are not obliged to release players for the Olympics because games are not on the FIFA calendar.

As a result Liverpool were able to reject Salah and Egypt’s request meaning the player will remain at Anfield – albeit against his wishes.

According to British tabloid, Mirror, Egypt coach Shawky Gharib admits he tried on several occasions to convince the Premier League   side to allow their star man to travel to Japan.

He said: “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.

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“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.”

Liverpool’s reluctance will have stemmed from the dates of the the Olympics football competition, which is due to finish on August 7, seven days before the Premier League begins.

The Reds will have had to do their pre-season preparations with their striker before kicking off the season with games against Norwich City, Burnley and Chelsea.

Salah is Egypt’s shining light and one of the most impressive players ever produced by the African country.

But Gharib will have to prepare for Olympic matches against group rivals Spain, Argentina and Australia without the 29-year-old.

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“We started talking with them a long time ago because Salah wanted to play the Olympic Games, but Liverpool were unclear,” Egypt FA President Ahmed Megahed told BBC Sport Africa.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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