A commercial dispute between Mohamed Salah and football authorities in Egypt has been swiftly resolved following top-level political intervention, a quick turnaround that showcased the mega star power of the 25-year-old Liverpool winger.
Salah had been upset that his image is featured prominently on the outside of the national team’s plane, which was provided by official team sponsor WE. Salah has a sponsorship deal with a rival telecommunications firm, Vodafone.
Youth and Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz summoned the board members of the Egyptian Football Association for urgent talks on Sunday. Abdel-Aziz said late Sunday that he and the association have agreed to meet Salah’s demands.
‘I assure everyone that we will stand by him to honor all the contracts he entered in England,’ Abdel-Aziz wrote on Twitter.
In comments later made to a popular television show, he said: ‘Consider that all the demands made by them (Salah and his agent) are met.’
Officials with knowledge of the meeting said the order to quickly resolve the dispute came from the ‘highest political level.’ The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
The dispute erupted six weeks before Salah leads Egypt at the World Cup, the country’s first appearance at the tournament since 1990.
It also comes ahead of Wednesday’s match between Liverpool and Roma in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals, with the English team leading 5-2 from the first leg. Salah scored two goals and assisted another two at Anfield.
At the World Cup, Egypt will play in Group A against host Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
Abdel-Aziz also appeared to acknowledge that the federation was to blame for the dispute with Salah, saying it was likely that it did not have the expertise to deal with commercial issues relating to a player of his global status.