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Is Mo Salah About To Quit The Egyptian National Team?

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Is Mo Salah About To Quit The Egyptian National Team?

Liverpool and Egypt star Mohamed Salah may be on the brink of retiring from his national team after a political controversy surrounding his meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Egyptian team are the only side to have based themselves in Chechnya at the 2018 World Cup and Salah, as their star player, has been forced into photo opportunities with Kadyrov, a controversial strongman leader with a poor human rights record.

According to the Daily Mail, Salah is understood to feel like he has been exploited for political purposes by both the Egyptian Football Association and by his Chechen hosts and is considering retiring from the national team as a result.

Mohamed Salah, right, with Chechnya's regional leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. Credit: PA
Mohamed Salah, right, with Chechnya's regional leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. Credit: PA
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Salah has featured in several photographs with Kadyrov and was subsequently named as an honourary citizen of Chechnya.

"Mohamed Salah thanked us for the surprisingly warm and good reception, excellent attitude to the team, excellent living conditions and training," wrote Kadyrov on his personal page on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook.

Chechnya's political situation is complex, with the territory part of the Russian Federation but with large amount of political power devolved to the local level, which in practice means into the hands of Kadyrov.

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Ramzan Kadyrov rose to power in the small Caucasian republic in 2007 at the age of just 30. His father, Akhmad Kadyrov, had played a large role in leading a war for the independence of Chechnya from Russia in the mid 1990s, only to switch sides in the Second Chechen War in the late 1990s.

At the conclusion of the war, Chechnya gained a significant amount of independence from Russia and Akhmad Kadyrov was made President. He was assassinated in 2004 but his son succeed him three years later, when he reached the minimum age to take over the Presidency.

Ramzan Kadyrov's time in power has been characterised by reports of disappearances, torture and totalitarian behaviour, with crackdowns on minorities a feature of life under his regime.

In particular, there have been widespread reports of LGBTI people being taken away to concentration camps, tortured and even killed.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"This is a big lie," said Essam Abdel Fattah of the Egyptian FA in response to reports that Salah would quit. "Nothing like this is true and I wonder how CNN are reporting these things.

"I don't understand this. We're guests in this men's land and he invited us for a dinner. We can't refuse something like that and this is very normal.

"[Critics] are mixing politics and sports? We're a sports team and nothing can involve us in politics."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Liverpool, World News, egypt

Mike Wood
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