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French football captain warns against 'extremes' before election

France's Kylian Mbappe runs during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024.
France's Kylian Mbappe runs during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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Kylian Mbappé urged people to vote in France's legislative elections saying: "we can see that the extremes are knocking on the door of power.”

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On the eve of France's first game at the European Championship, star striker Kylian Mbappé called on Sunday on French people to vote and warned against “extremes” at a time when the far right seeks to take power in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Mbappé, who is captain of the French national team, said he wanted to convince young people that their votes could make a difference. He didn't name any politicians or parties by name.

“We know that it is a pivotal moment for French history, this is a never-before-seen event,” Mbappé said through a translator. “We are a generation that can make a difference, we can see that the extremes are knocking on the door of power and we have the opportunity to shape the future of our country.”

Mbappé added that it was “a situation that is even more important than the game tomorrow,” when France plays Austria in its European Championship opener. Discussing politics won't hurt France's chances on the field, he added: “One does not impede the other, not at all."

Earlier, the national soccer federation had urged media to back off asking its players in Germany to comment on elections at home.

The statement was published late on Saturday before coach Didier Deschamps and Mbappé faced questions on the eve of Les Bleus' Euro 2024 opener.

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 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.

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