Mbappé Stands Against the French Football Federation Over Sports Betting Sponsorship
Kylian Mbappé, the French soccer superstar, has made his voice heard. After refusing to participate in a photo shoot of the country’s national team over its relationship with sports betting operators, changes are coming.
Mbappé has been fighting for changes ever since the French Football Federation (FFF) aligned itself with Betclic. The Paris Saint-Germain star has been determined to show his discontent, and his decision has the support of some players on the squad.
The FFF has refused to review the agreement on the image rights of the players. However, after Mbappé was a no-show for the photo shoot, it changed its mind.
The Power of Stardom
The FFF reached an €8-million (US$8.02 million) deal with Betclic last year, which runs until the 2026 World Cup. The organization also has ties to KFC, Uber Eats and Coca-Cola.
The agreement includes the use of players’ images in marketing campaigns. However, Mbappé, the highest-paid soccer player in the world, drew his own red card against the deal.
I have decided not to participate in the photo shoot following the refusal of the French federation to change the image rights agreement with the players. My representatives and I deeply regret that it was not possible to reach an agreement, as requested, before the World Cup,” Mbappé said.
The soccer phenom has a few reasons to take his stance. He doesn’t want his name or image associated with certain products or services. In addition, the FFF’s deal may put him and other players in conflict with their own sponsorship agreements. Lastly, he feels the organization needs to dedicate more resources to the development of grassroots soccer programs.
After the FFF rejected his previous attempts to induce change, Mbappé made a statement by not appearing in the photo shoot. That caused the organization to scramble, with FFF President Noel Le Graet meeting with him and other players on Monday.
The result of that reunion was clear. Players stood firm with Mbappé and expect changes. The FFF has realized its back is against the wall, and conceded defeat. Now it is willing to review sponsorship agreements and the use of players’ images, and Mbappé is willing to participate in sponsorship activities in the meantime.
Sportsbook’s Classless Act Leads to Anger
Mbappé’s disdain for sports betting operators comes legitimately. Last March, France’s Winamax thought it would be a good publicity stunt to show a Black man’s naked rear end in a Tweet.
The sportsbook labeled the man Mbappé’s father and said it was his way of “celebrating a goal by his son against South Africa.” It wasn’t the first time Winamax has shown it has no class, and its actions are forcing some athletes to distance themselves from the gambling industry.
The French national team begins its World Cup title defense in Qatar this November. It will play Nations League matches against Austria on Thursday and Denmark on Sunday.
France is the odds-on favorite to beat Austria, getting -290 against its rivals on DraftKings. The odds are a little tighter in the second game, with Mbappé and crew looking at -105 to Denmark’s +295.
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