Kylian Mbappé Forces French Football Federation to Revisit Gambling Sponsorship

  • Mbappé has refused requests from gambling companies several times recently
  • Other players on France’s national team hold disdain for gambling companies
  • The French Football Federation is currently partnered with Betclic, a French gaming company
  • French company Winamax made an unpopular reference to Mbappé’s father during a promotion
Kylian Mbappé
French soccer star Kylian Mbappé has taken an anti-gambling position, causing turmoil at the upper level of French soccer. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Protests against gambling

French soccer megastar Kylian Mbappé has taken a hard stance against gambling companies, which has had a resounding impact on French soccer’s approach to sports betting.

He is now receiving support from several of his squadmates.

Mbappé, the highest-paid player in the world, has refused several requests from gambling agencies over the past year, including attending sponsored events and photo shoots. His protests began after the French Football Federation (FFF) teamed up with French betting company Betclic. He is now receiving support from several of his squadmates.

The FFF had previously refused to debate its right to the use of images following Mbappé’s objections, but has now changed its mind.

Kylian Mbappé fights the FFF

The FFF signed an €8m ($8.02m) agreement with Betclic last year. The partnership is set to run through 2026, the year of the next World Cup.

France has the second-best odds of winning the World Cup in Qatar later this year, trailing only Brazil. Plus, with Mbappé and other young stars, their team figures to remain highly competitive by the time the next competition arrives.

has made it clear, though, that despite the terms, he will not participate in the promotion of gambling

As part of the FFF’s agreement with the betting company, player images are available for use during marketing campaigns. Mbappé has made it clear, though, that despite the terms, he will not participate in the promotion of gambling.

“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,” said Mbappé. “My representatives and I deeply regret that it was not possible to reach an agreement, as requested, before the World Cup.”

There are several issues secondary to Mbappé’s overall rejection of gambling that could be in play, but his main objection has been that he does not want to promote “addictions for young children.”

The FFF tried to uphold its agreement with Betclic and condemned Mbappe’s previous comments, but with him not appearing in the photoshoot, its hand has been forced. FFF president Noel Le Graet met with Mbappé and other key squad members shortly after the event.

The federation is now set to review its sponsorship agreements and use of image rights. Mbappé will participate in sponsored events while negotiations take place.

Future outlook for France

Players on the French national team now expect imminent change.

As for Mbappé, his hauteur could have been sparked by a distasteful marketing campaign. Last March, French gambling agent Winamax tweeted an image of a naked Black man’s bottom—the character was labeled as Mbappé’s father, and it was said that he was “celebrating a goal by his son against South Africa.” 

Winamax also has other times where it has exhibited classless behavior, which has caused other Frenchmen and women to distance themselves from the company. 

The FFF is somewhat obligated to abide by Mbappé’s wishes. His club team, Paris Saint-Germain, already ceded him more power than any other player in the history of the sport despite him being just 23 years old. He is also the star and best player on France’s national team and will be at the center of the squad for at least another decade.

Mbappé is not the only global star to take a harsh stance against gambling agents. In late August, retired UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov slammed sportsbooks and said that he would never partner with any gambling companies.

Meanwhile, teams in other soccer leagues, including the Premier League and EFL Championship, have campaigned for the removal of betting sponsors entirely.