KFC France has distanced itself from calls by its vice-president that suggested legal action would be taken against Kylian Mbappe over his refusal to participate in sponsorship commitments.
As previously reported, Mbappe allegedly refused to attend Tuesday’s France national team photoshoot over a long-standing dispute with the French Football Federation (FFF) over image rights.
L’Equipe reported that KFC France’s Alain Beral had said the fast-food chain would “enforce its rights where necessary” in relation to the Mbappe situation – hinting at legal action.
His comments include scathing quotes accusing Mbappe of having a “tantrum” and a “teen crisis”.
As reported by Reuters, KFC France has since clarified that Beral is not speaking on behalf of the company.
Mbappe had led a boycott of certain sponsors among the French team back in March as he did not want to be associated with specific brands.
He skipped the planned squad photoshoot this week as he remains uncomfortable promoting certain sponsors, including betting companies and fast-food brands.
As reported by L’Equipe, Beral added: “We paid for something clear. If necessary, we will assert our rights.’
He added: “It’s a problem between the federation and Kylian Mbappe. Not ours,,’
However, Beral was worried about what Mbappe’s actions would mean in the future.
He fears “the end of private companies’ financing of associations and leagues if the players no longer want to sign”.
KFC France responded that they regretted Beral’s comments, which came from him as a guest of Sports Business Club.
Their statement read: “KFC France regrets the words spoken yesterday and reported in the media this morning. These are personal opinions but in no way reflect the position of the company.
“KFC France would also like to clarify that Alain Beral did not speak on behalf of the company, but rather in a private conversation during an event related to his role as President of the National Basketball League.
“The partnership between KFC and the French Football Federation (FFF) has always been a source of pride for the company. KFC France has full confidence in the FFF’s ability to find satisfactory solutions for all its partners and players, including Kylian Mbappe, whose supporters we rank among the first in France.’
The French Football Federation announced they are reviewing the situation around players’ image rights following the situation with Mbappe.
The FFF last year inked an €8million (£7million) deal with online sportsbook Betclic, which runs until the 2026 World Cup.
The federation also has ties to KFC, Uber Eats and Coca-Cola, which could be a problem for Mbappe.
All the money Mbappe earns from France sponsorship goes to charity but the forward is believed to have resigned from the photoshoot due to the moral and ethical issues arising from representing certain sponsors.
Mbappe’s complaints are understandable given his past troubles with betting companies.
French betting company Winamax has been widely condemned for a tweet it sent out earlier this year about a football fan celebrating a goal by showing his bum to the crowd. Alongside the image, the caption read: “Kylian Mbappe’s father celebrates his son’s goal against South Africa.”
Far from being impressed by her ill-considered tweet, Mbappe responded by writing: “The danger of online betting…has no limit anymore. Please respect.’
It is understood that Mbappe still wants to renegotiate the image rights agreement with the FFF for national players.
As early as 2010, after the national team’s disastrous World Cup, it was agreed that the image rights would be divided equally among the 23 members of each French squad.