French sports minister lauds Mbappé’s ‘absolutely exemplary’ election plea

AFP , Monday 17 Jun 2024

French Sports Minister Amelie Oudéa-Castéra on Monday hailed a statement by football superstar Kylian Mbappé urging voters not to back political extremes in the upcoming snap elections as exemplary.

Kylian Mbappe
France s Kylian Mbappe reacts during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024.

 

The backing came as Spain's goalkeeper suggested Monday that it was not the French captain's place to speak up "against extremes and divisive ideas" ahead of general elections. 

On Sunday, Kylian Mbappé, representing France at the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany, said he was "against extremes and divisive ideas" and urged young people to vote at a "crucial moment" in French history.

The comments from Mbappé, 25, one of the icons of modern France, sparked a stream of controversy, with figures on the right warning him against interfering in politics.

"Kylian spoke in an absolutely exemplary manner yesterday (on Sunday). He wanted to speak to young people at a totally unprecedented and decisive moment for the future" of the country, said Oudéa-Castéra.

France's men's football team has long been seen as a beacon for diversity in the country. The French Football Federation has urged against "any form of pressure and political use of the French team".

"I hope I will still be proud to wear this shirt after July 7," said Mbappé, referring to the second round of the elections.

The striker defended comments made on Saturday by his teammate Marcus Thuram, saying he "had not gone too far" in calling on the country "to fight every day to stop" the far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) winning the elections.

"Today we can all see that extremists are very close to winning power and we have the opportunity to choose the future of our country," Mbappé said.

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