Kylian Mbappé’s boycott of sponsors is “a fundamental challenge to the business of football”, explains a marketing expert

They don’t play together, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappé pull in the same direction. Last July, the Portuguese star caused a sensation at Euro 2021 by causing the price of Coca-Cola shares on the Stock Exchange to fall. How? Or what? When firing the famous soda that was placed in front of him at a press conference. A few days later, Paul Pogba followed suit, this time with a bottle of Heineken.

Tuesday, It is not one but six marks that Kylian Mbappé has left aside. Invited like all the Blues to participate in a morning with the sponsors of the French team, the Parisian has given Volkswagen, Orange, Coca-Cola, Konami, Uber Eats and Xbox a rabbit. And that’s despite the Blues’ convention that each player must submit to the marketing operations of France’s national team partners, generating around €25,000 per game for the players.

A thoughtful decision, thus justified by the player and his clan: all the brands would not correspond to the values ​​of the player, who already donates his image rights to charities. In addition, the income generated by these contracts would not be sufficiently redistributed to “bottom football”. The Blues star would also like more consultation between the players and the FFF on this issue.

As mentioned above, Kylian Mbappé is not the first to challenge sponsors in the world of football. Thus, we could cite the famous example of Johan Cruyff, muse of Puma in the 1970s, who had one of the three Adidas stripes removed from the Holland shirt.

The difference is that in the case of Mbappé it is not a conflict with a personal contract of the player (he only has the sponsorship of Hublot, EA Sports and Nike). According to the parisian, It is the team’s collaborations with BetClic, Coca-Cola and KFC that would bother Mbappé and his lawyer Maître Delphine Verheyden, who has been discussing the issue with the FFF for several months. But without winning. This explains the boycott on Tuesday morning, a decision that could be a milestone.

The general delegate of Sponsora, Magali Tézenas du Montcel admits to having been surprised by Mbappé’s gesture: “Yes, I was surprised, even if there had been the gesture of Ronaldo, Pogba or even Griezmann who abandoned his partner Huawei to support the Uyghurs. We knew that peers could leave an athlete with bad behavior, but athletes who deny it. the sponsors of him, is quite recent.

Also an expert in sports marketing, Gary Tribou adds: “Until now, a footballer was someone who had no brain, no opinion, who kicked the ball and that’s it. From the beginning of his career, Mbappé positioned himself as a player who has an opinion. He is not the only one who takes an opinion. position, to make a social judgement, is quite good for football”.

If the intelligence of Bondy’s genius is often used, one must also remember that he is very well surrounded, insists Magali Tézenas du Montcel: “His lawyer is extremely competent, she takes great care of the image of the athletes she deals with. She is not at all one of those who do a publicity stunt. Mbappé has few partners, he is committed, he regularly donates money to charities. By making this decision, Kylian Mbappé creates a precedent that goes in the direction of further consultation between the FFF and the players regarding the choice of partners. If the gesture is commendable, is this perspective plausible?

“If you have to get the agreement of the players to sign partners, that will bring some problems. A player who plays for an institution must be in solidarity with the economic model of the institution or the competition. It is likely to multiply, if only for the other players on the France team. »

Magali Tezenas du Montcel

on franceinfo: sport

Magali Tézenas de Montcel summarizes: “Because of the image, it’s fine, we prefer rough personalities. On the other hand, because of the economic model of football, I don’t see how that can be reconciled. Where do we put the cursor? No brand is going to be 100%. uncritical.”

A position supported by Gary Tribou, professor at the University of Strasbourg: “The best sponsors are the ones with things to forgive, we call that exculpatory sponsorship. If we get picky, which I can understand from an ethical point of view, we stop, for example, the world in Qatar. It can go a long way. It’s a pretty fundamental questioning of the business of football.”

Meanwhile, the question that remained was that of the possible sanctions against the French. “The only way out is to minimize the case. Nobody is interested in it being a matter of state on the front page of the media”Gary Tribou prophesied, a few minutes before Noël Le Graët never breaks the silence in the team [article payant]. “A letter from the Federation’s lawyers will be sent to Mbappé and his lawyerconfirmed Le Graët, who said he was against any form of sanction. We will see point by point what the problem is. We want to improve things and make people, sponsors and players happy.”

The president of the FFF recalls, in passing, that “All income goes to amateur football (90 million euros this season) and training”. Le Graët indicated that he would be satisfied with a discussion in the next few days with the Blues star, before concluding: “Little worries are part of life. Kylian will be on the pitch in Marseille and I hope it will be good.”

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