Kylian Mbappe smiles but not for the camera after refusing to take part in team photoshoot

France striker is involved in a row with the French Football Federation that risks damaging squad morale

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Just two months before France begin their defence of the World Cup, the mood around the team is in stark contrast to the celebrations that followed their win over Croatia in the 2018 final.

The clouds have been gathering over coach Didier Deschamps and his squad as key players struggle with injuries and personal problems.

Meanwhile the French Football Federation (FFF) is locked in a row over image rights with its biggest star and its president faces accusations of inappropriate behaviour.

It all threatens to derail France's campaign in Qatar.

Kylian Mbappe — a goalscorer in the 4-2 World Cup final win over Croatia — is involved in a row with the FFF that risks damaging squad morale.

On Monday, their get-together at the chateau of Clairefontaine, an hour's drive from Paris, was overshadowed by the Paris Saint-Germain striker's refusal to participate in a photo shoot because of the FFF's unwillingness to modify an agreement regarding players' image rights.

Mbappe has boycotted a shoot before, and on Monday the federation responded quickly, promising to "revise as soon as possible the agreement".

Mbappe's representatives insisted the matter "obviously does not call into question his total commitment and determination to contribute to the collective success of the national team".

Meanwhile, the FFF's veteran 80-year-old president is in the firing line.

Noel Le Graet was last week summoned to a meeting with the country's Sports Minister, Amelie Oudea-Castera. The government then announced it was launching an audit of the federation.

That came after So Foot magazine published accusations that the FFF suffered from organisational problems and that some former employees had alleged they had not been treated properly.

One accusation is that Le Graet sent text messages of a salacious nature to female employees.

The federation has launched legal action against the magazine.

Le Graet has denied the allegations and told Le Monde newspaper this month that "there aren't any text messages".

"It's not the calmest atmosphere that I have known," admitted Deschamps.

France are in Uefa Nations League action on Thursday when they host Austria at Stade de France before travelling to face Denmark on Sunday.

Updated: September 21, 2022, 8:16 AM
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