EXCLUSIVE | Legal letters explain dispute between Mohamed Salah, Egyptian FA
KingFut can exclusively reveal that Mohamed Salah’s lawyers plan to take action against the Egyptian Football Association, before the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, over the image rights dispute between Mohamed Salah, Presentation Sports & the Egyptian FA.
This week KingFut received exclusive legal letters from a reliable source outlining the embroilment between Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian FA and Presentation Sports, over the use of Salah’s image rights.
Through the findings, KingFut established that Mohamed Salah’s UK image rights are assigned to a UK entity that Mohamed Salah is a director of, whilst his non-UK jurisdiction image rights are assigned to MS Commercial (Cayman) LTD, directed and managed by his lawyer Ramy Abbas Issa. The dispute in question is between MS Commercial (Cayman) LTD, in which Mohamed Salah has no managerial or executive role.
The letters state that towards the end of 2017 the head of the Egyptian FA, Hany Abou Rida, inappropriately made contact with Mohamed Salah to discuss his non-UK image rights, over which Mohamed Salah has no managerial control of and asked him to favour the Egyptian National team’s sponsors (which could break the terms of Mohamed Salah’s current sponsorship deals).
On the 20th March 2018, Ramy Abbas Issa wrote (below) to Hany Abou Rida requesting that Presentation Sports, who are the Egyptian FA’s main sponsor and media partner, cease the use of Mohamed Salah’s image on the national team’s flagship aircraft that will fly them around Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He also added that Presentation Sports were wrong to claim they are entitled to Mohamed Salah’s national team image rights, and to stop selling Mohamed Salah’s image rights by using his image alongside that of the sponsors of the Egyptian FA.
The letter read, “the image of Mohamed Salah be immediately removed from the Egypt Air Aeroplane and the that Egyptian Football Association, Presentation, and its commercial partners, immediately cease using, and/or authorising the use of, the image of Mohamed Salah, without having obtained our express written consent.”
After receiving no response and due to the fact that the aircraft in question landed in Switzerland, falling under Swiss laws and regulations, MS Commercial (Cayman) LTD through Swiss lawyers Levy Kaufmann-Kohler, sent another letter on the 23rd March (below) to Presentation Sports asking them again to “immediately cease the above infringements, and to stop claiming entitlement of Mr. Salah’s image rights and its commercialization in the future”.
Mohamed Salah’s representatives did not receive a response, and as such, on the 2nd April 2018, they sent a final letter (below) where Ramy outlined the possibility that Mohamed Salah could refuse to be called up to the Egyptian national team. Mohamed Salah’s lawyers stated that by using Mohamed Salah’s image rights without consent they are breaching Article 2 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, which prevents forgery and corruption.
Ramy added that Mohamed Salah is being put in a position where he is either forced to allow the Egyptian FA to exploit his image rights or breach the FIFA regulations by refusing to respond positively to the Egyptian national team (which in essence means to decline to play for the national team).
It was only after director Ramy Issa went publicly on Twitter to express his displeasure, which was retweeted by Mohamed Salah, did Hany Abou Rida respond, denying any wrong doing. In his letter, which Ramy Abbas Issa said on twitter was “incoherent [and] without any signature”, Abou Rida responded with four key points; however, none seemed to address the image rights issue.
— Ramy Abbas Issa (@RamyCol) April 20, 2018
He said that Mohamed Salah is a dear son to him and that he does not wish to be in any disagreement with any of his sons. He added that the Egyptian FA will “adamantly move forward with its plan to grow its resources in keeping with rules and regulations to build up new heroes like Mohamed Salah that will be a source of pride for their nation.”
He then went on to add that he is aware of all the international laws by saying “Finally, we would like to point to the fact that all of the references in your correspondence to international regulations have not been mentioned by anyone, and we are aware of the international laws that govern these issues.”
Hany Abou Rida mentions that he has the right to use the player’s picture if he is part of a group of players, which Ramy Abbas Issa dismisses. Furthermore, in the main infraction in question, which is the Egypt Air Aeroplane, Mohamed Salah’s image is used on its own at the front of the plane, alongside the Egyptian FA’s sponsors.
After seeing the above quotes Mohamed Salah offered full support to his lawyer, tweeting a picture of himself with Ramy Abbas Issa along with the caption “full support…”.
Full support…✌🏼 pic.twitter.com/tuGv4lTd2v
— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) April 21, 2018
It is unclear what the Egyptian FA will do next after Mohamed Salah showed support for his lawyer and managerial director, who has made it clear that Mohamed Salah could miss the World Cup if the issue is not resolved before June 15th.
KingFut have reached out to the Egyptian FA and await their response.
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