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Image rights and international footballers: the curious case of Mohamed Salah and the Egypt Football Association

Egypt Football
Tuesday, 09 April 2019 By Jake Cohen

In April 2018, a very public dispute began to play out across traditional and social media over the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) using, without authorisation, the image of Liverpool star and Egyptian international, Mohamed Salah.

This dispute was unique in that public statements were made by Mr Salah, his legal representatives, EFA officials, and uninvolved, but nevertheless influential parties (i.e. notable Egyptian politicians and businesspeople) while the dispute was ongoing.

The public nature of the dispute coupled with Mr Salah’s extraordinary star power has shined a light on an important legal matter – namely, the use of international players’ image rights by their respective national associations.

Now that the dust has settled, this article dissects the dispute and extrapolates some key learning points. Specifically, it will:

  • Provide an overview of the use of international footballers’ image rights by their respective national associations.

  • Discuss the various issues at play in the dispute between Mohamed Salah and the EFA.

  • Provide some best practices to consider for both footballers and national associations who are engaged in central contracts where there is an image rights component.

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Written by

Jake Cohen

Jake Cohen

Jake is a Consultant Mills & Reeve and an attorney working on both sides of the pond.

He has worked in the sports team at Mills & Reeve, and also writes about legal, economic, and financial issues in European sport for the Wall Street Journal, ESPN, and other publications. He has been cited as an authority by media outlets all over the world.

At one time, he was a serviceable fly-half.

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