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FFF president says French players free to express themselves on politics


The president of the French Football Federation has said the France players at Euro 2024 are free to express their views on the political situation in the country even if the organisation would remain neutral.

"I have always said that I guaranteed that the players would have freedom of expression," FFF chief Philippe Diallo told reporters at the French team's European Championship base in Paderborn, western Germany, on Tuesday.

"But the principles of the FFF mean that you must avoid political or religious debates and remain neutral."

Diallo's comments come after France captain Kylian Mbappe and his teammate Marcus Thuram spoke out in recent days about upcoming parliamentary elections in the country which could see the far-right National Rally become the biggest party.

Thuram called on French voters to "fight" to stop the far right coming to power in the snap elections, the first round of which will take place on June 30 and the second round on July 7.

Mbappe spoke out "against extremes and divisive ideas" but did not explicitly speak in favour of any party ahead of the elections, but he did defend Thuram, saying he "had not gone too far" with his comments.

"The country needs to identify with the values of diversity and tolerance. That is undeniable. I really hope we make the right decision," Mbappe said.

Diallo said it was not for him to police the players and direct them as to what to say.

"It is not up to me to restrain the players if they wish to express themselves when it comes to subjects that matter to their generation," said Diallo.

"Certain players went further in taking a stand and I respect that.

"It is just that I am the president of a federation, not the leader of a party, so it is not my job to tell the French people how to vote.

"The institution cannot have the same freedom of expression as the players."

He added: "The France team belongs to all the French people. I don't want them to be used by anyone."

France began their Euro 2024 campaign by beating Austria 1-0 on Monday in Dusseldorf, a game in which Mbappe suffered a broken nose.

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