French team – Kylian Mbappé, a marketing boycott with the Blues: a position in four questions

Why Mbappé refused to participate in these operations?

The case comes to shake up these first days of gathering of the France team. According to several media (RMC, L’Equipe or Le Parisien), Kylian Mbappé refused to participate in the traditional marketing operations of the France team, which regularly launch the Blues internships in Clairefontaine. The reason ? The PSG star does not want his image to be associated with certain brands. Especially those that go against the values ​​he tries to convey.
According to RMC, Kylian Mbappé would not particularly like to be involved in certain advertising campaigns when he has been committed for years to trying to instill in children the idea of ​​”eating well”. To sum up, the 23-year-old world champion wants to have more control over the use of his image when he is in the world of the France team.

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Kylian Mbappé during the match between France and Bosnia, September 1, 2021

Credit: Getty Images

Where does this history of partnerships come from?

This is a major challenge for the FFF. With 12 key partners, the French team is a golden egg for the FFF, which collects more than 100 million euros in revenue thanks to these partnerships. To sign the most lucrative contracts possible, the FFF surfs on the image of its players, as do the clubs as well. For this, the national body has its various internationals sign an agreement upon their arrival in the France team where they commit to the partners of the France team, according to L’Equipe. A practice put in place after the 2010 World Cup and that Noël Le Graët had established to try to restore the image of the Blues after the fiasco of Knysna with in particular a charter to be respected.

But if other federations in the world have fairly similar principles – like Spain or Italy for example – that provokes a debate. “This kind of deal is not common. And it is a real legal tension on the use of the image rights of the players with the sponsors of a national teamexplains Lionel Maltese, sports marketing specialist, professor at the Kedge Business School, based in Marseille. The ‘athlete brands’ are more and more significant and the clubs as well as the federations take advantage of this to sell their images.e”.

However, this subject is not necessarily new since “the benchmark in marketing is Michael Jordan in 1992 who hid Reebok’s logo with the American flag during the Olympic Games celebrations because he had an exclusivity with Nike”, as Lionel Maltese reminds us. What no one would want to see in the FFF…

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Why is Mbappé in a strong position to lead this “fight”?

It is not just any player who attacks this convention that players must sign when they arrive at the Blues and this question of the use of their image. By its status already. Mbappé continues to grow on the football planet. We are talking about one of the best players in the world, if not the best. His image is therefore a boon for the Blues and a real challenge. But if he is apart, it is also a question of personality.

Very involved for certain causes, the crack of Bondy donates his rights to the image of charities, as recalled by L’Equipe. In 2018, for example, he gave his entire world champion bonus (note: 300,000 euros) to the association Premiers de cordée, which carries out awareness-raising actions on disability and offers sports initiations to children with disabilities. . And today, “KM”, advised by his lawyer Delphine Verheyden who approached the FFF on these issues a few months ago already according to The Team, would like to have a say in the use of his image but also to see the money generated by these receipts in the France team benefit amateur football. Difficult to attack on these points there…

Why does this put the FFF in an uncomfortable position?

If the individual image rights of athletes have been a major issue for a few years now in the professional world, the French team has been fairly spared in recent years. But Kylian Mbappé has just thrown a stone into the water. And according to L’Equipe and Le Parisien, partners of the Parisian in Blues began to ask themselves the question about these image contracts “offered” to the Federation. Has the time for renegotiation come? To be continued…

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