Muffled pass between Kylian Mbappé and Noël Le Graët: the star of the France team reproached his Federation president on Sunday for not having taken into account the racism he says he suffered after his missed penalty at the Euro.
In an interview with the Journal du Dimanche, the boss of the French Football Federation spoke of the attacks against the striker whose shot on goal precipitated the elimination of the Blues from the Euro in the round of 16 against Switzerland ( 3-3, 5 tab to 4).
Mbappé “found that the Federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism on the networks”, explained Le Graët to the JDD.
“He no longer wanted to play in the France team – which he obviously did not think,” continued the leader.
“Yes finally I explained to him above all that it was in relation to racism, and NO to the penalty”, replied the player on his Twitter account. “But he considered that there had been no racism…”
Noël Le Graët returned to this episode at the end of 2021 with AFP.
“I like him and I think he likes me,” he said. “He came to the Federation. He had taken a little hit. The elimination had affected him, especially the few articles and the few comments. My role was to show him affection, to tell him that the Federation was counting on him to bounce back. It’s not a loss that can change a career.”
– Racist insults on the networks –
As for the racist insults, “maybe it affected him”, explained the president, “but it was settled very, very quickly. The proof: he is competitive at a very, very high level. In the championship , he walks”.
In September 2021, Noël Le Graët had been criticized for saying that racism in football “does not exist or hardly exists”.
A few months earlier, in July, the Paris prosecutor’s office had announced that it was investigating racist messages towards certain players of the France team after the Euro.
The president of the single community of Martinique Serge Letchimy had notably written on June 30 to the Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti to condemn “insulting remarks” towards Mbappé.
Among them, a very relayed racist message which insulted the PSG striker as a “dirty nigger” who “deserves to take a hundred lashes”.
On Saturday, the International Football Federation (Fifa) published a report pointing to the increase in the number of insults suffered by footballers on social networks.
According to this study, 38% of them were racist in nature.
– “Peaceful situation” –
Five months before the World Cup in Qatar, Fifa announced a “protection plan for teams, players, referees and supporters” against such messages during international competitions.
It includes in particular a “moderation service” which will make it possible to detect messages and make them invisible “for the recipient and his subscribers”.
This bittersweet exchange between the president of the FFF and one of the main stars of the Blues, if not the main one, comes after a period of disagreement between the two men over the image rights of players in the France team.
The player and his advisors would like to review the convention that governs these rights, to “modernize” it. Saturday, at the end of the General Assembly of the FFF, Noël Le Graët assured that there would be “no change. Until the World Cup at least”.
And with Mbappé, “the situation has calmed down”, he assured, specifying that these rights would continue to be distributed equally between the selected players. “I saw Mbappé alone. Then Mbappé at Clairefontaine, within a group with which I discussed. Then afterwards I saw all the players”.
“There is no problem, no dissent. On the contrary, it was done very friendly. With him (Mbappé) first, then the + grognards + (captain Hugo Lloris, defender Raphaël Varane, midfielder N’Golo Kanté and striker Antoine Griezmann, editor’s note), “said the president. Without being contradicted on Twitter.