عالمية عالمية

Liverpool refuse Mohamed Salah request as Ibrahima Konate stance made clear


Liverpool are planning on having Mohamed Salah and Ibrahima Konate available for their full pre-season programme – despite both being wanted for Olympics duty.

The Reds have refused a request from Egypt to release Salah as one of two over-age players in their squad for the games in Japan, with the men’s football tournament taking place between July 22 and August 7.

France, meanwhile, could call upon Liverpool’s new £36m signing Konate, with the 22-year-old and having worked under French coach Sylvain Ripoll with his country’s under-21 side.

The Reds already know forward Takumi Minamino will not feature having been omitted from the hosts’ 18-man squad that was announced on Monday.

FIFA rule states clubs are under no legal obligation to release their players for the Olympics, which falls outside the international match calendar and would see players miss a significant chunk of pre-season with their clubs.

And Liverpool have made clear their position to the respective federations with it unlikely any of their players will be involved in the tournament.

Egypt, though, have not given up on including Salah, despite admitting the Reds are already concerned the 29-year-old – along with Sadio Mane and Naby Keita – could miss more than a month of next season due to Africa Cup of Nations duty.

The Egyptian FA are hoping the player will successfully make a case for Olympics participation to Liverpool and expect a definitive answer by the end of the week.

“I do not want to say that it is impossible for Salah to participate in the Olympics, but it is difficult,” said Egyptian FA president Ahmed Megahed to ONTimeSport. ‘Salah agreed to lead the Olympic team during the last camp of the Egyptian team.

“We contacted Liverpool to allow Salah to join the Olympic team, and they said they were waiting for the approval of the technical staff, but in the end, Liverpool refused the request because they do not want to lose the player at the beginning of the season, as well as next January with the Africa Cup of Nations, which will keep him from participating in the English Premier League matches.

“We spoke with Salah again, and he told us that he will make a new attempt with the technical staff of his team, to resolve the matter, and within the next two days he will find a way.”

Tokyo, which will host the Olympics that was delayed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, on Sunday lifted a state of emergency imposed due to a surge in infections in Japan’s capital and other major cities.

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