BetHard Delays Ibrahimovic-Backed Launch Due to FA Regulations
Former Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was appointed Brand Ambassador for the Malta-based betting firm, but the deal contravenes regulations set in place by the Football Association, barring players from promoting gambling products.
The player has today left Manchester United and is believed to be heading to play for LA Galaxy in the US, meaning he is now free of these restrictions in involvement with the Nordic betting market-focused firm. The Swede was revealed as Brand Ambassador in a deal struck early in March and it is believed his involvement with BetHard was postponed rather than cancelled.
Under the FA’s strict rules preventing such partnerships with gambling operators, any player, manager, club or match official who advertises or promotes gambling activities is asked to cut the relationship short, and likely face serious sanctions, including a ban.
After reports that the FA would begin an investigation into the Ibrahimovic case, a press conference announcing the launch of BetHard’s flagship sportsbook product was cancelled. According to The Telegraph, the FA was made aware of the plans, and the organisers decided to delay the event while they researched the rulebook.
BetHard contacted the people it invited to the launch to say: “We will be in touch with a new date soon, and please bear with us until then as we are unable to offer further information at this time.”
The FA’s rules dictate that players at English clubs are also banned from betting on football events worldwide.
An individual participant, when acting in a personal capacity, shall not be permitted to advertise or promote any betting activity that the participant is prohibited from engaging in. – The Football Association’s rules on gambling involvement.
The Football Association has in recent years stepped up its efforts to regulate gambling in football and player involvement in the industry is not a new thing. Midfielder Joey Barton was banned from the sport for 18 months because of gambling on football over a period of ten years. Another England midfielder Kieron Dyer recently revealed in his autobiography that many Premier League footballers have struggled with gambling addictions, with their problematic behaviour often affecting on-field performance.