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12th Sep 2023

Mo Salah could be ‘blacklisted’ from Saudi Pro League due to obscure rule

Callum Boyle

Mo Salah

Salah was the subject of heavy interest from Saudi Pro League clubs

Mohamed Salah could be prevented from playing in the Saudi Pro League due to one obscure rule.

Salah was at the centre of a £150m bid from Al Ittihad but Liverpool swiftly rejected the offer, saying categorically that he was not for sale.

Although they were unsuccessful in their pursuit, Saudi Pro League director of football Michael Emenalo insisted that the door wasn’t closed on any future move and hinted that another offer could come in during the January transfer window or next summer.

“If it didn’t happen, it’s not because we no longer fancy the player, or because we have a problem with Liverpool,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s because certain things that need to align for all the parties involved in the process didn’t align.

“Nobody is angry, we move on, but we absolutely close no doors and if the opportunity is there to do things and do it well – and it brings Mohamed Salah to the Saudi Pro League we will all be very grateful.”

Mo Salah

The idea of Salah making the move to the Middle East isn’t entirely out of the question however any deal could collapse for one reason only.

Back in July, the New York Times claimed that the Pro League had devised a list of 24 players that they wanted their clubs to sign.

That list primarily comprised of players in their early 30s plying their trade in European Leagues and who were out of contract.

As part of that though, the league had also set some ground rules for their clubs which if not followed, would result in sed player being blacklisted and prevented from playing in the Saudi Pro League.

Rule one stated that any player demanding an annual salary of more than $3m (£2.29m) would have to be approved by the league while the second said that teams were not allowed to negotiate against each other.

If any player was used by their agent as a bargaining chip to ensure that they were offered more money, they would be “immediately blacklisted”.

To put that into context, if Salah’s agent was to use Al Hilal as a way to make Al Ittihad offer more money by offering his services to the former, the league would frown upon that and prevent the Egyptian from playing – even if Al Ittihad went on to sign him.

Salah’s contract expires in 2025.

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