KFC’s Sponsorship Of France’s Football Team Turns Into PR Disaster As Star Player Refuses To Play Ball

KFC’s Sponsorship Of France’s Football Team Turns Into PR Disaster As Star Player Refuses To Play Ball

The French arm of KFC has been forced to make a public apology after a company executive threatened one of the country’s (and world’s) biggest football stars with legal action.

The chicken fast food giant is one of French Football Federation’s official partners, a fact it has been leveraging  in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup that starts in Qatar in late November. (France’s first game is against our very own Socceroos on the 23rd of November.)

Problem for KFC is that star player – and the world’s highest paid football player – Kylian Mbappé is refusing to take part in any marketing because he doesn’t want to be seen to be endorsing fast food or gambling.

And, to his credit, Mbappé puts his money where his mouth is, donating revenues he gets from endorsements to charity and grassroots football.

Mbappé currently has sponsorship deals with Nike, Hublot watches (see below) and EA Sports.

Mbappé – whose annual salary for playing for French club Paris St Germain is said to be a cool $US62 million ($A94 million) annually – reportedly refused to take part in a KFC photoshoot on Tuesday over a long-running dispute with the French Football Federation (FFF) over image rights.

In turn, Mbappé’s stance infuriated KFC France’s vice president Alain Beral who said the fast-food chain would “assert their rights if necessary” and then threatened to call in the lawyers.

Beral also accused Mbappé of having a “tantrum” and a “crisis of youth”.

Beral, as reported by L’Equipe, said he feared “the end of financing for federations and leagues by private companies, if the players no longer want to sign”.

KFC France was then forced to come out and clarify that Beral’s comments were his own and not the views of the company.

In a statement to media, the company said: “KFC France regrets the words that were 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 also wishes to clarify that Alain Beral did not speak on behalf of the company, but in the context of a private conversation during an event related to his functions 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 every confidence in the FFF’s ability to find satisfactory solutions for all of its partners and players, including Kylian Mbappé, whose supporters we are among the first in France.”

The French Football Federation has since announced that it would review the situation surrounding players’ image rights following the situation with Mbappé.

However, it doesn’t look like the problems for the French Football Federation are going to go away anytime soon. It also has deals with online betting firm Winamax, Uber Eats and Coca-Cola.

Earlier this year, Winamax posted a ‘joke’ tweet of a football fan celebrating a goal by showing his backside to the crowd. Alongside the image, the caption read: “Kylian Mbappé’s father celebrating his son’s goal against South Africa.”

Mbappé, naturally, was less than impressed, tweeting in response: ‘The danger of online betting… no longer having a limit. A little respect please.”








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