The autograph hunter who filmed Liverpool star Mohamed Salah texting while driving has spoken out to give his version of events.
Liverpool’s top scorer from last season was in his car apparently ignoring child supporters in slow-moving traffic following his side’s 4-0 win over West Ham on Sunday.
Roby Wylie, who took the original footage, has since been subjected to online accusations after the video was referred to Merseyside Police by Salah and the club, report the Liverpool Echo.
However, new footage shows the owner of a signed sports memorabilia website carrying a replica Anfield road sign in a blue man-bag.
The autograph hunter has previously sold the signs autographed by other Liverpool players, including summer signing Fabinho.
He operates a website called Iconic Scribbles, selling “sports memorabilia at the best prices” which states, following widespread criticism of his business practices over the last 24 hours, it is “under maintenance”.
Reds fan Chris Dawes, who was the only other adult present at the scene on Arkles Lane when Salah allegedly drove while using his mobile, said he believed Mr Salah was attempting to avoid eye contact with Mr Wylie.
Mr Dawes, 27 and from South Wales, told the Echo: “I believe a lot of players are aware of who (Mr Wylie) is, and therefore do not cooperate. In this instance, Mo Salah was not texting on his phone, he was pretending to be on his phone, while his car was stationery.
“I believe this was to make it seem like he was busy as he is too polite to tell Rob Wylie to leave him alone.”
Mr Dawes said he initially believed Mr Salah was ignoring fans, but when he looked at video footage he came to the view that the star was attempting to avoid Mr Wylie.
Now Mr Wylie has faced a barrage of related accusations, including that he uses children to approach Liverpool players and get autographs, and that he posted the video in revenge for Mr Salah refusing to sign an autograph.
In the statement posted to his Facebook page, he said: “Those claiming that I sent the video to the police because I was angry that Mo did not sign any autographs are liars and guilty of slander.
“Those claiming I was with children at the time are liars. I was with one other adult at the time. There were other children present but none known to me.”
Yesterday the video recorded by Mr Wylie was referred to Merseyside Police who said they would examine it.
Liverpool FC said the club did not wish to comment on the accusations surrounding Mr Wylie.
In a statement yesterday, a spokesman said: “The club, after discussion with the player, have made Merseyside Police aware of the footage and the circumstances surrounding it’s capture.
“We have spoken to the player also and will deal with any follow-up internally.
“Neither the club or player will be making any further comment on this matter.”
Mr Wylie said he has received “harassment and threats” since the video emerged.
He said: "I am aware that some people consider that selling autographs is not a noble profession. My business allows football and other sports fans around the world to own autographs of their idols.
"I get emails from satisfied customers every week and most are excited and overjoyed to have an item signed by one of their heroes.
"The greatest excitement is to get the autograph yourself but not everybody is in a position to do that which is where I come in. An autograph for Xmas is better than a pair of socks!
"Unfortunately my business is competitive one and not all my competitors like me. I don’t know for sure but I have a sense that this may be the source of many of the lies currently appearing about me on social media.”
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