In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, Mohamed Salah reiterated his controversial position on the Amr Warda sexual harassment scandal. “My position is still the same. As I told you, the people misunderstand what I am saying,” he told the host. “What I meant to say is that [this] happened before and it is happening now, [Warda] has to get treatment or rehabilitation to make sure that it is not going to happen again.”
Released today, as part of CNN’s Connect the World, the interview focuses on Salah’s views on gender equality in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Egypt’s underwhelming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 performance.
Earlier this year, several women went public with allegations of sexual harassment against Warda. One of the victims was Egyptian-British model Merhan Keller who shared screenshots of her conversations with the disgraced footballer. Other women came forward disclosing more evidence of his unwanted sexual advances and verbal abuse when turned down.
The controversy came to a head when Warda was eliminated from Egypt’s national team during AFCON season, then reinstated after several players, including Salah, came to his defense. The Liverpool forward tweeted, saying, “shunning is not the answer.”
When asked whether his support may have contributed to the Egyptian Football Association’s decision to reinstate Warda, Salah disagreed, saying, “I am not the national team captain, I am not the team manager, I am not the coach. …I am [only] a player, but they just put [the blame] on me.”
The interview then took a slightly more contentious turn when Anderson cited comments made by Salah in a Times magazine story, where he advocated for women in Muslim and Arab societies, saying, “I think we need to change the way we treat women in our culture.”
Salah then reiterated his commitment to gender equality in the Middle East and North Africa, telling the host that his views on the subject have changed over the years, especially since the birth of his daughter. “My opinion is that [a] woman has the right to talk about anything she doesn’t like,” he says. “When my daughter has a problem she has to feel support from me to come to talk to me about the problem. The most [pressing issue] is the fear, [women fear their husbands and their fathers]. …The fear is not healthy for anyone, so we have to fix that.”