Amsterdam (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain are “within their right” to not allow star striker Kylian Mbappe to play for France at the Tokyo Olympics, national team coach Didier Deschamps admitted on Tuesday.
“PSG, and maybe other clubs elsewhere, have taken a position and that is within their right”, Deschamps said in Amsterdam, where he was attending the draw for the next UEFA Nations League.
His comments came after French sports daily L’Equipe reported earlier on Tuesday that PSG had written to the French Football Federation (FFF) to say that the 21-year-old World Cup winner would not be allowed to participate at the Games.
Clubs are not obliged to release players for the Olympic football tournament, which does not fall within official FIFA international dates.
The Olympics are due to run from July 24 to August 9, but the next French Ligue 1 season begins on August 7. Meanwhile, Mbappe will be part of the France squad at Euro 2020, which will run from June 12 to July 12.
“This concerns me without it concerning me, because I am not the coach (of the Olympic team), that’s Sylvain Ripoll. These are the Olympic Games, which are happening outwith FIFA dates, and the clubs are the employers of the players,” added Deschamps.
Mbappe has stated on several occasions his wish to play for France at the Olympics and FFF President Noel Le Graet earlier confirmed that the striker had been included in an initial long list of 80 names for the tournament.
That list will be reduced to 50 names before being trimmed to a final 18-man squad, plus four players on standby. Rules allow for only three players aged 24 and over to feature in squads.
“I think it’s nice that a kid of that age, who already has all the offers in the world, should say ‘I want to go to the Olympics’. But is it compatible with his other football commitments? That is a different question,” said Le Graet, who on Tuesday was elected to the FIFA Council for a three-year term.
“PSG are entitled to come and discuss the matter, but I would prefer it if a boy like him said ‘yes I want to go’ than ‘I couldn’t care less’.”
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