Kylian Mbappe's image rights beef, Paul Pogba drama highlight turbulent times for France FA ahead of World Cup

Mon, Sep 19, 2022
Soccer News (AP)

Kylian Mbappe's image rights beef, Paul Pogba drama highlight turbulent times for France FA ahead of World Cup

The French Football Federation will review their image rights agreement with the players for the national team after Kylian Mbappe refused to take part in sponsorship activities on Monday ahead of this year's FIFA World Cup in . The Paris Saint-Germain man has been vocal in his desire to not be associated with many of Les Bleus' sponsors due to his strong healthy eating and anti-gambling image and this is not the first time that he has boycotted partner activities on international duty.

"The FFF is delighted to work on the outlines of a new agreement which will allow it to maintain its interests all the while taking into consideration the concerns and legitimate convictions unanimously expressed by its players," read a brief official statement from the FFF on Monday.

Any future sponsorship commitments are likely to be in accordance with Mbappe's terms given the current conflict with his individual commercial interests with all the 23-year-old's bonuses -- including image rights -- with''going to charity. Mbappe's image rights and association with certain brands was part of discussions at the end of last season with the former AS''man opting to extend his contract at Parc des Princes when''were interested in his services.

Mbappe and his representatives'expressed their "regret"'at being unable to reach an agreement as requested before the World Cup with no question over his "total" commitment and determination to contribute to collective success, via a communique published by Agence France Presse on Monday. Per the FFF statement, senior players, president Noel Le Graet, head coach Didier Deschamps and the marketing director all participated in discussions with KFC, Coca Cola and Uber Eats among the current sponsors of the French national team.

These are turbulent times for the FFF. L'Equipe via Le Monde have transcribed some of Paul Pogba's police statement regarding a suspected armed blackmail attempt against him which has seen the Juventus midfielder's older brother Mathias provisionally detained and under investigation with a view to organized extortion and criminal conspiracy.

"I was scared," Pogba reportedly said of the ordeal which has seen four others arrested on kidnapping charges. "The two guys pointed their weapons at me. So, having been held up like that, under threat, I told them that I was going to pay."

Meanwhile, the FFF has been the subject of allegations including inappropriate behavior from Le Graet towards young female colleagues and four decades of covering up sexual abuse cases within the Federation which has prompted libel action against magazine SoFoot.

"There are so many wrong things, lies, absurdities that have been repeated," Deschamps told TF1 of the accusations leveled at the FFF by SoFoot and investigative journalist Romain Molina. "Obviously, this creates a climate that is not the most calm and serene."

The accusations have been enough to ensure that the FFF will now be the subject of an audit by France's Ministry of Sport with no further comment expected until the audit is over after it was confirmed by the body led by Amelie Oudea Castera.

France will travel to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup as defending champions and occupy Group D with Denmark, Australia and Tunisia.

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