Egypt national football team forward Mohamed Salah is set to miss the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after his Premier League club Liverpool FC refused to release him.

“I do not want to say that it is impossible for Salah to participate in the Olympics, but it is difficult. Salah agreed to lead the Olympic team during the last camp of the Egyptian team. We contacted Liverpool to allow Salah to join the Olympic team, and they said they were waiting for the approval of the technical staff,” Egyptian FA president Ahmed Megahed said in an interview with broadcaster ON Time sports.

“But, in the end, Liverpool refused the request because they do not want to lose the player at the beginning of the season, as well as next January with the Africa Cup of Nations, which will keep him from participating in the English Premier League matches.

“We spoke with Salah again, and he told us that he will make a new attempt with the technical staff of his team, to resolve the matter, and within the next two days he will find a way,” Megahed added.

The former Chelsea and Roma attacker was hoping to be selected as one of the three over-age players in Egypt’s under-23 football squad for the Tokyo Games.

However, the Summer Olympics is scheduled to start on July 22 and run until August 7, which means that it will clash with Liverpool’s pre-season preparations. Furthermore, Salah is already set to miss a part of the 2021-22 season for the Reds due to the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

Two other Liverpool players Takumi Minamino and Ibrahima Konate are also unlikely to participate at Tokyo Olympics. While 26-year-old Minamino has not been selected in Japan's football squad for the Games, France international Konate has been denied permission by Liverpool to participate at the Summer Olympics.

Liverpool will kick-off their 2021-22 Premier League campaign against newly-promoted Norwich City on August 14.

Featured photo: CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP