Mbappe lawyer releases statement after star causes stir on France duty

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Kylian Mbappe’s lawyer has defended the France star’s decision to pull out of a photoshoot in protest over a dispute regarding image rights, after forcing the French Football Federation to make a U-turn. The FFF announced on Monday that they would be launching a review of their current agreement with the national team players in relation to image right payments.

The FFF’s surprise change of heart came only after Mbappe had withdrawn from participating in France’s commercial activities with their main sponsors, with photoshoots initially scheduled for Tuesday.

The issue for Mbappe centred around the lack of authority the players had in controlling their image rights. And while there were inevitable criticisms aimed towards the 23-year-old that his actions were financially-motivated, his lawyer, Delphine Verheyden, suggested it was a matter of trying to give more autonomy to footballers.

In a statement released via Ouest-France, Verheyden also denied claims that she had been influencing the World Cup winner as a “puppeteer” and claimed Mbappe knows “what is true”.

“Times change, athletes too. The younger generation is no longer ready to compromise when the older one saw it as a question of zeros,” Verheyden said, as quoted by Get French Football News.

“My job is to ensure that we do not dispossess athletes of their image rights, which are fundamental to personality. I listen to the player and help him unfold what he thinks. Some want to pass me off as the great puppeteer, but that is up to them. Me and my client, we know what is true.”

The incident has been viewed as an embarrassing climbdown from the FFF after president Noel Le Graet had insisted there would be no amendment to the current agreement before the World Cup, having initially held talks with Mbappe and the squad in June.

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However, the Paris Saint-Germain star’s act of brinkmanship forced the FFF to act, calling a meeting between Le Graet, head coach Didier Deschamps, captain Hugo Lloris, vice-captain Raphael Varane, and Mbappe to resolve the issue.

Within a matter of hours, a statement appeared on the official Twitter of the French national team confirming that it agreed to review its agreement “as soon as possible”.

The statement read: “The FFF is delighted to work on the outlines of a new agreement which will allow it to maintain its interests all the while taking into consideration the concerns and legitimate convictions unanimously expressed by its players.”

As part of the compromise, Mbappe subsequently agreed to return to the activities and participate in the photoshoot and will now prepare for France’s UEFA Nations League fixture against Denmark on Sunday.

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