Why Mbappé is shouting so loudly: the fall of sport in France if Marine Le Pen’s far-right wins the election
Víctor García
July 4, 2024

“We are at a crucial moment in our country. The European Championship is important in our career, but we are citizens and we are not disconnected from what is happening in our own country. We are in an unprecedented situation and at an important moment.” Kylian Mbappé, French and world soccer star, encouraged his citizens to go out and vote in the legislative elections that are taking place these days in the Gallic country. In the first leg, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) party won a historic victory, and this July 7 the second leg will be decided, for which the French Euro team is calling for a vote against the party because of how it will change France socially, something that would affect their sport.

France’s policy around sport has traditionally been geared towards inclusion, equality and the development of sport at all levels. With such great diversity within its borders, sport acts as a ‘glue’ to unite cultures, races and religions, so a shift to a far-right-minded government could bring with it different policies and priorities that would significantly impact the country’s sport and, therefore, society. More than 200 French sportsmen and women signed a column in ‘L’Equipe’ recently calling on their neighbors to vote for parties that are not extremist.


The French extreme right, mainly represented by the Rassemblement National (RN), has maintained critical stances towards immigration and multiculturalism, something that leads towards less inclusive and more restrictive sports policies in terms of participation of foreign athletes and ethnic minorities.

The multicultural French team in this Euro (Marco Canoniero/Shutterstock)

What happens if the participation of foreign athletes in national competitions is limited? The diversity and level of competition in leagues and sporting events would be severely affected. On the street, programs aimed at promoting integration and sports participation in disadvantaged communities could see a reduction in funding or be eliminated.

Financially, a far-right party such as National Rally could redirect funds earmarked for sports and inclusive development to other areas deemed more aligned with its agenda. Policies could focus more on professional sport and less on the development of sport at the amateur and youth level, affecting thousands of young people and clubs that are the basis of the diversity and multiculturalism of its elite athletes.


Sport is a vehicle to promote values of respect, inclusion and fair play and a hypothetical far-right government could influence such sporting culture, promoting values more aligned with its ideology, focusing more on nationalism and national pride, to the detriment of values such as solidarity and international cooperation.
And it is something so dangerous that it could jump to school by using the subject of physical education as a nationalist vehicle that would affect the way young people feel, perceive and practice sport.


France is a country with an extraordinary presence in international sporting events. Nationalist policies could affect both participation and the organization of international sporting events in the country as it would become less attractive as a venue for major international sporting events due to possible restrictions and less welcoming policies for foreign athletes and tourists. The choice of the Alps as the venue for the 2030 Winter Games – such as the forthcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games or the choice of the Alps as the venue for the 2030 Winter Games – is a good example of this..

At the same time, political tensions with other nations could affect international sports relations, including cooperation in sports exchange programs and participation in international leagues and tournaments.
For all these reasons, despite France being in the quarterfinals of the European Championship, this weekend Mbappé and company will have part of their minds on what happens at the ballot box. After all, of the 25 called-up players, 19 of them have their origins and family far from France, and they want future French generations – whatever their race – to have the opportunity to grow up that they have had.

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