Mbappé Stands Against French Football Federation Over Sports Betting Sponsorship

Posted on: September 20, 2022, 07:39h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 05:26h.

Kylian Mbappé, the French soccer superstar, is refusing to participate in a photoshoot of the country’s national team over its relationship with sports betting operators. Now changes are coming.

Kylian Mbappé
Paris Saint-Germain soccer star Kylian Mbappé on the field during a game last year. He is forcing the French Football Federation to reconsider its sponsor relationships with gambling companies. (Image: Getty Images)

Mbappé has been fighting for change 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 refused to review the agreement regarding players’ image rights. After Mbappé was a no-show for the photo shoot, the federation changed its mind.

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.

Saying No

The soccer phenom has a few reasons for taking his stance. He says he doesn’t want his name or image associated with certain products or services and believes the organization needs to dedicate more resources to developing grassroots soccer programs. The FFF’s deal may also conflict with his and other players with their sponsorship agreements.

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 impossible to reach an agreement, as requested, before the World Cup,” Mbappé said.

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 discussion was clear. Players stood firm with Mbappé and expect changes. The FFF, realizing its back is against the wall, conceded defeat. The FFF is now 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 a lack of 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.