Star French footballer Kylian Mbappé has refused to turn up to a photo shoot organised by KFC, one of the French Football Federation’s official partners. He reportedly doesn’t want to endorse fast food or gambling.
KFC is considering legal action, and has accused Mbappé of having a youthful tantrum.
The Paris St Germain forward, who will be one of the key players in the FIFA World Cup in November, first boycotted sponsorship commitments back in March, calling for a renegotiation of the image rights agreement between FFF and players. “I have decided to not take part in the photo shoot after the French federation’s refusal to change the image rights agreement with the players,” Mbappe said in a statement.
It all brings to mind the incident at last year’s Euro 2020 tournament, when Cristiano Ronaldo discarded a (sponsored) Coca-Cola bottle during a post-match press conference and encouraged people to drink water instead.
At the same tournament, another French footballer, Paul Pogba, removed a bottle of Heineken from his sight. This was associated with his religious beliefs, but was still a big snub for a major sponsor.
If governments are too nervous to tackle the harms of junk food, gambling and alcohol, maybe we will have to rely on sporting stars to take a stand.
Football – and many sports – rely on huge sponsorship deals that are often struck with companies whose “purpose” credentials are objectively lacking. Crypto.com, for example, recently pulled out of a major deal with the UEFA Champions League due to concerns over increased crypto currency regulation.
Crypto.com had been recruited to replace Russian gas supplier, Gazprom, which says it all.