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With Mbappé news conference expected at Euro 2024, France officials urge curb on election questions

DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — With France in a fervent political moment, the national soccer federation urged media to back off asking its players in Germany to comment on elections at home ahead of an expected news conference Sunday with Kylian Mbappé.

The statement was published late Saturday before coach Didier Deschamps and a top player — which typically should be the captain, Mbappé — face questions on the eve of Les Bleus’ opening game at the European Championship.

France President Emmanuel Macron has called two rounds of national assembly elections on June 30 and July 7 attempting to counter success for his far-right opponents in European parliamentary elections last Sunday.

Mbappé’s fellow forwards Marcus Thuram and Ousmane Dembélé, who also are Black, already expressed strong opinions about domestic politics and the need to vote during news conferences at the team’s training camp in Germany.

Thuram, whose father Lilian is a national soccer great and long-time activist on social issues, on Saturday urged French citizens “to fight daily” to stop nationalist groups taking power.

The soccer federation said “almost all the players of the French team have been questioned” about the June 9 European elections.

“Each of them could express themselves freely, according to their own convictions,” said the federation, asking for respect for its neutrality as an institution and the teams it is responsible for.

The federation said it is “very attached to freedom of expression and citizenship (and) supports the necessary call to go to vote, which is a democratic requirement.

“As such, it is appropriate to avoid any kind of pressure and political usage of the French team,” whose president Philippe Diallo is a member of UEFA’s executive committee.

France plays Austria to open its Euro 2024 program in Group D that also includes the Netherlands and Poland.


AP Euro 2024: https://ift.tt/c5SFKra

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