Tag: Finley

From sex scandal to shock exit – Salah’s miserable AFCON

first_imgAfter Egypt’s shock last-16 elimination by South Africa at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday night, Mohamed Salah took to Twitter to thank his nation’s “loyal fans” for their support.The forward also made a promise: “We will learn from the mistakes that we made.”One sincerely hopes that Salah meant addressing the mistakes Egypt made off the field, as well as on it. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare The tournament has been an unmitigated disaster for the host nation and their star player, who scored twice but struggled overall to influence games, most notably of all in the tame 1-0 loss to South Africa in Cairo.That defeat resulted in Salah and his team-mates being booed off the field. It was a dreadfully anti-climactic end to a campaign that, as the now former Egypt boss Javier Aguirre pointed out, could well have put the winger in pole position in the race for this year’s Ballon d’Or.Having helped Liverpool conquer Europe with the opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the Champions League final – a year after being cruelly forced out of the tournament decider with a shoulder problem – it was hoped that he could replicate that tale of redemption by leading his nation to a first AFCON title since 2010.After rushing his return from injury to represent Egypt at the 2018 World Cup, Salah was, understandably, a shadow of his usual scintillating self in Russia as The Pharaohs crashed out in the first round without registering a single point.Even more frustratingly, he came under fire after accepting honorary Chechen citizenship from the region’s controversial leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who has a dubious human rights record.In addition, there was a bitter argument with the Egyptian Football Association, whom Salah blamed for the “many disturbances at the team’s camp during our participation at the World Cup in Russia”.Salah vs South Africa Afcon 2019The 27-year-old winger alleged that he regularly had to deal with Egyptian officials and celebrities coming to his room wanting to talk.Given his disdain for unwanted attention, Salah could, therefore, have been expected to have better handled the sexual harassment controversy that completely overshadowed his country’s attempt to win the AFCON on home soil this summer.Ahead of Egypt’s second group fixture, against DR Congo, Amr Warda was expelled from the squad after Merhan Keller, a British-Egyptian model, shared screenshots of lewd and aggressive messages allegedly sent by the midfielder to her and other women.However, rather than accept the Egyptian FA’s decision, which was taken “to maintain the state of discipline, commitment and concentration” in the squad, several senior players, including Salah, instead challenged it.The net result was Warda – after apologising for his actions – was allowed to rejoin the panel for Egypt’s final group game, and the last-16 meeting with South Africa.Salah’s support had been crucial.”Women must be treated with the utmost respect,” he wrote online. “‘No’ means ‘no’. Those things are and must remain sacred.”I also believe that many who make mistakes can change for the better and shouldn’t be sent straight to the guillotine, which is the easiest way out.”We need to believe in second chances… we need to guide and educate. Shunning is not the answer.”Mohamed Salah Warda PSBut neither was overturning the EFA’s perfectly legitimate decision to expel a serial offender.According to Portuguese newspaper Record, Warda’s loan spell at Feirense in 2017 was terminated after he allegedly harassed the wives of two team-mates just days after arriving at the club. Thus, Warda had already long since received a second chance.To outsiders, then, it looked like Salah and his team-mates had essentially prioritised their Africa Cup of Nations campaign over taking a stand in support of harassed women.In addition, Keller, who is taking legal action against Warda, subsequently claimed that she has received “thousands” of abusive messages after Salah’s tweets.”This person (Salah) is God in Egypt. Literally,” she told The Daily Mirror. “He is one of the most recognised figures in the world. This has pushed people to harass me even more.”You have no idea the amount of hate messages, threats and stuff that I am getting. I cannot go to my country right now if I want to visit my family. People will attack me in the streets.”You know what he has done, so the fact that he (Salah) is still siding with him (Warda) is really, really painful.”Merhan Keller Salah Warda EgyptAmr Warda Egypt AFCONSalah’s stance wasn’t only offensive, either. It was downright bizarre, given that he had championed women’s rights in an interview with Time magazine in April.”I think we need to change the way we treat women in our culture,” he said. “It’s not optional.”The inclusion of Warda shouldn’t have been optional either, though. Being team-mates or friends shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to determining someone’s suitability to representing the national team.Rightly or wrongly, some footballers are considered role models. And it is a responsibility that Salah takes very seriously. He has spoken in the past of the “pressure” that comes with the job.”To be the first Egyptian in [this] situation and no one has done this before,” he said, “it’s something different.”And not at all easy. For the most part, though, Salah has conducted himself with commendable class and done his nation proud.A man of compassion, he has done an incredible job – particularly in England – in helping break down social, cultural and religious barriers and in promoting unity and harmony. Indeed, there are few more likeable or influential figures in the game today.However, he erred badly in supporting Warda’s reinstatement after just one game in exile.Warda’s actions haven’t just called his own character into question, they’ve also cast Salah and his colleagues in a most unfavourable light.We can only hope that they soon realise that they made a mistake. And then learn from it. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Johnson wins Trumps approval for tough approach to Brexit

BIARRITZ, France — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval Sunday for his plans to take a tough approach in talks to leave the European Union after a chummy meeting on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in France.Johnson glowed as Trump said he gave him a vote of confidence in carrying out the Brexit talks. The British prime minister has vowed to bring his country out of the EU on Oct. 31 no matter what, an approach that has raised worries about a chaotic divorce that could cause chaos and hurt the economy.Trump promised that he and Johnson would work out “a very big trade deal” between their nations once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.“I’m very grateful for that,” Johnson said. “And we’re looking forward to having some pretty comprehensive talks about how to take forward the relationship in all sorts of ways, particularly on trade. We’re very excited about that.”But the pair were barely past the elegant winding staircase at the Hotel du Palais when it became clear that each had a different vision of what a trade deal might look like. The United States has said it is ready to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.K. in pieces — rather than London’s wish of a comprehensive pact.Johnson pledged a “fantastic deal once we clear up some of the obstacles in our path.” Trump interrupted promising “lots of fantastic mini-deals.”The British prime minister badly needs a trade deal with the United States. After taking power last month he vowed that Britain would leave the EU on time with or without a divorce deal, cutting the country off from the EU’s single market of 500 million people. A no-deal Brexit would see new tariffs and border checks on trade between Britain and the EU, seriously disrupting business.Supporters of Brexit say a free trade deal with the United States can help make up for any reduction in commerce with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc’s single market for goods and services. In 2018, Britain did almost half its trade with the EU, while the U.S. accounted for 18% of U.K. exports and 11% of imports.“We’re working on a very big trade deal and I think it’s going to work out,” Trump said.The meeting between the leaders came a day after Johnson warned that getting a trade deal with the United States won’t be “plain sailing” as he bemoaned barriers to the United Kingdom’s goods in American markets.Speaking to reporters as he flew to France for the Group of Seven meeting, Johnson cited examples small and large of British goods that struggle in U.S. markets for bureaucratic reasons. He cited things like cauliflower, English wine, pillows, rail cars and even parts for showers.It wasn’t just goods on Johnson’s radar, but professional services, which far and away make up most of Britain’s economy.“If you want to sell insurance in the U.K. you only need to speak to two regulators,” Johnson fumed. “If you want to sell insurance in the U.S. you have to speak to 50 regulators. The same point can be made about architects and many other professions.”But even though he needs a deal, Johnson was at pains to say he wasn’t giving away the store. Some sectors of the U.K. economy would remain off limits to any deal. Johnson has promised the National Health Service will be off-limits and that animal welfare standards would be safeguarded.Danica Kirka, The Associated Press read more