Following this story, I have recieved a response from Chelsea. It said simply:
Thank you for taking the time to write to the club. I wanted to wait until Mohamed was with the club before responding. I would like to alert you to some quotes from the player on this topic. His words were published on our website today.
Mohamed said: ‘There have been incorrect stories about me, I am a footballer – I do not do politics. I respect everybody, it doesn’t matter where they come from. I do not have a problem with anybody. And I will not speak about this again.’And here is my follow-up response:
I appreciate your response, but it really is a strange statement from Mohamed. He needs to be much more specific about the 'incorrect stories'. He is surely not claiming that the video evidence of him avoiding hand-shakes on four separate occasions (before and after each of the Basel v Maccabi TA ties) is somehow fabricated? And what about the extensively documented statement "I am going to play in Palestine and not Israel and I am also going to score and win there. The Zionist flag won’t be shown in the Champions League." Are the many dozens of news agencies who attribute that quote to him all wrong?
Surely the best way to resolve this situation is to do what I suggested in my original email. That would be a win-win would it not? At the very least, how about a very explicit statement like the following: "I realise that my actions and some comments attributed to me in connection with the Basel v Macabbi TA matches could be considered offensive and disrespectful to Israeli players and Jews generally. I apologize for any offence I may have caused and can assure all supporters that I would be very happy to play in Israel for Chelsea and to respect the normal standards of sportsmanship such as shaking hands with all players."Since Mohamed Salah's statement said he 'will not speak about this again' I'm not hopeful that the suggestions in my follow-up letter will be considered. And if they are not it would be very reasonable to conclude that Chelsea have signed a bone fide antisemite. Let's wait and see.