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Mbappe accuses French federation boss of ignoring racist abuse

France international Kylian Mbappe on Sunday accused the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) of ignoring racist abuse after his penalty miss at Euro 2020.

Mbappe accuses French federation boss of ignoring racist abuse
The president of the French Football Federation Noel Le Graet (L) speaks with France's forward Kylian Mbappe in 2017 (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

The Paris Saint-Germain star’s decisive spot-kick against Switzerland was saved in the last-16 shootout, resulting in the world champions exiting the tournament.

The 23-year-old was vilified on social media by furious fans, and even considered quitting the national team as a result.

In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, FFF president Noel Le Graet spoke of the lack of support Mbappe had felt after the Euro elimination, but failed to mention the racist absue he had received, to the annoyance of the France striker.

Le Graet said “he (Mbappe) considered that the federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism on social media networks”.

“We saw each other for five minutes in my office,” continued Le Graet, adding the striker “no longer wanted to play in the French team – which he obviously did not think”.

On Sunday, Mbappe responded on Twitter, regretting that Le Graet had not taken into account the “racism” of which had been a victim.

“Yes finally I explained to him (Le Graet) above all that it was in relation to racism, and NOT to the penalty,” Mbappe said.

“But he considered that there had been no racism.”

Le Graet later told French radio there was “no problem” between himself and Mbappe.

“I agree with him. I understood everything and there is no problem with Kylian. I have always had a deep attachment to him.”

Le Graet had spoken last year about how the striker had “taken a knock” after the penalty miss.

“He came to the federation. He had taken a bit of a knock. The elimination had affected him, especially the articles and the comments,” Le Graet told AFP.

“My role was to show him affection, to tell him that the federation was counting on him to bounce back. It’s not a defeat that can change a career.”

As for the racist insults, “maybe it affected him”, continued Le Graet, “but it was settled very, very quickly. The proof: he is competitive at a very, very high level.”

FIFA plan to protect players

Le Graet had already come under fire last September after declaring that racism in football “does not exist or hardly exists”.

A few months before the Paris prosecutor’s office announced it was investigating racist messages towards certain French international players after the Euros.

On Saturday, FIFA published a report pointing to the increase in the number of insults against footballers on social media.

According to this study, 38 percent of them were racist in nature.

FIFA said with the World Cup in Qatar just five months away, they will work with players union FIFPRO to implement a plan on how to protect players from abuse on social media.

This will involve scanning recognised hate speech terms published to identified social media accounts, and once detected, prevent that comment from being seen by the recipient and their followers.

The exchange between Le Graet and Mbappe follows a period of disagreement over the image rights of players in the France team.

Mbappe and his advisors would like to review and modernise the convention that governs these rights.

Saturday, at the end of the FFF General Assembly, Le Graet insisted there would be “no change. Until the World Cup at least”.

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Olympics mean no Paris finish for 2024 Tour de France

For the first time since 1905, the Tour de France will not have its usual finish in Paris in 2024, closing instead with a time trial in Nice, organisers announced on Thursday.

Olympics mean no Paris finish for 2024 Tour de France

Although the race has been brought forward one week so as not to clash directly with the Olympic Games, which is being hosted in 2024 by Paris, it will still finish on July 21, just five days before the opening ceremony.

Hence the decision to move the finish to Nice on the southern Mediterranean coast. The city has hosted the Tour 37 times previously with two starts, in 1981 and 2020.

“Nice is a city that shines, it’s known around the world,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told AFP

“There is the beauty of the setting and the mountains nearby. The city offers an exceptional setting and a great course.”

The race will also conclude with an individual time trial for the first time since the legendary finish in 1989 when American Greg Lemond stole the yellow jersey from Frenchman Laurent Fignon, winning by just eight seconds, the smallest margin in history of the Tour.

The first two Tour de France races in 1903 and 1904 both concluded in Ville d’Avray, just outside Paris, but every edition since 1905 has ended in the capital.

Since 1975, that has meant a grand showpiece along the Champs-Elysees.

The race is already slated to return there in 2025.

“We will be delighted to return to Paris and the Champs-Élysées for the 50th anniversary of the first arrival on the Champs in 2025”, said Prudhomme.

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