Mbappe in image rights fight with France ahead of World Cup

France's Kylian Mbappé celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the international friendly soccer match between France and Wales at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Daniel Cole/AP)

PARIS (AP) — A dispute between Kylian Mbappe and the French soccer federation over the use of image rights resurfaced Monday as the team prepared for Nations League matches.

The months-long disagreement and an ongoing extortion scandal involving Paul Pogba are threatening to disrupt France's preparations for the World Cup in Qatar.

French media quoting an Mbappe statement to France's national news agency reported that the Paris Saint-Germain star will refuse to participate in a photo session Tuesday with his teammates because the federation has not amended the collective agreement governing rights for the French team ahead of the World Cup.

Mbappe's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

The current agreement that dates back to 2010 requires players to participate in marketing operations with the team's sponsors. In return, players receive 25,000 euros ($25,000) for every international match they play.

But Mbappe and his advisers argue that the deal is unfair because images of some high-profile players are used more often than others. They also want the right to review the brands with which players are associated.

Mbappe boycotted a marketing event for the federation in March.

France plays Austria on Thursday and travels to Copenhagen three days later to take on Denmark. Les Bleus face relegation to the second tier of the Nations League. The defending champions are in last place in Group 1 with two points from four games. Denmark leads with nine.

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