Trolls and memes have become an integral part of fan culture around the beautiful game for a while now.
Almost all major footballing moments and events have a dropdown effect on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram which are then flooded with trolls focusing on the moment.
While trolling has by now been acknowledged as an acceptable part of football fan culture, it becomes a different ball game when it is done by public organizations and companies associated with the game.
One such company with a notorious track record of trolling is Winamax, a French betting company. The group are known for trying to gain more popularity online for their services through trolls and memes posted on their social media accounts.
The latest example came yesterday when they posted a picture of a football fan baring his butt while at a stadium celebrating which was supposed to be France star Kylian Mbappe’s father as per the caption: “Kylian Mbappe’s father celebrating his son’s goal against South Africa.”
There is no doubt that Mbappe scored a world-class goal against South Africa earlier this week which many football fans loved but the betting company’s tweet has sparked controversy as Mbappe took to his Twitter account to condemn the post and also attacked online betting which is what the company does.
“The danger of online betting… no longer having a limit. A little respect please🤦🏽♂️🤬,” posted the player.
The Winamax account have posted various other such offensive tweets in the past that have somewhat gone under the radar in comparison to the Mbappe post.
When Paris Saint-Germain beat Club Brugge in the UCL Group Stages, the company released a series of heat maps for Leo Messi, Angel Di Maria and Mbappe which looked like actual heatmaps. But they also released one for Sergio Ramos, which was the image of a couch on the football pitch, as they mocked the Spaniard for being injured for the Parisians.
The serial trollers also took the opportunity of Mo Salah missing his penalty earlier this week by posting an image of a vampire and his weakness (sunlight), superman and his weakness (kryptonite) followed by Salah and his weakness, which they deemed to be lasers.
Une seule chose peut les éliminer. pic.twitter.com/yFJacdHI42— Winamax Sport (@WinamaxSport) March 31, 2022
Many football fans have surely enjoyed the memes and trolls posted by Winamax and as one fan pointed out, these posts become a form of advertisement for the company and also enables them to reach out to younger audiences.
The more they post, the more followers they receive who are then canvassed by the company’s website by offering discounts in order to promote online betting.
But as Mbappe’s reaction points out, in most cases Winamax tends to cross the border between humour and outright disrespect with their posts.
Having received such a public backlash, the company were forced to take down the post from Twitter.
But it remains to be seen if they continue to post trolls with this kind of intensity that distorts the limits following Mbappe’s intervention.