Ibrahimović Risks FIFA and UEFA Ban

World-renowned football star Zlatan Ibrahimović is under risk of being fined, and even banned by, both FIFA and UEFA for his involvement in a Malta-based betting agency. Ibrahimović’s joint-stock company Unknown AB owns 10% of betting company Bethard.com. Neither FIFA nor UEFA allow their players to hold financial interests in gambling companies.

Two football players battling for control of the ball during a match.

Footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović risks being fined and banned by FIFA and UEFA for his involvement in a Malta-based betting agency. Ibrahimović’s company Unknown AB owns 10% of betting company Bethard. Both FIFA and UEFA explicitly forbid players to hold financial interests in gambling companies. ©phillipkofler/Pixabay

Ibrahimović’s Company Owns 10% of Bethard

Zlatan Ibrahimović, the Swedish professional footballer who currently plays as a striker for AC Milan and the Sweden national team, is at risk of being fined and even banned by both FIFA and UEFA for his involvement in a Malta-based betting company.

Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet reports how Ibrahimović violated FIFA rules when returning to play for the Swedish national team earlier this year in March 2020 due to his part-ownership of betting agency Bethard.

The CEO of Bethard, Erik Skarp, confirmed in an email to Aftonbladet’s sport division, Sportbladet, that Ibrahimović is still a stockholder in the company and has been since 2018.

Ibrahimović’s joint-stock company Unknown AB owns 10% of betting agency Bethard through its ownership of ten percent of the stocks in Gameday Group PLC — the only current stockholder in Bethard.

Zlatan Faces Hefty Fines and Potential FIFA Ban

As per FIFA’s Code of ethics and UEFA’s rules, it is prohibited for players to have “any interests, either directly or indirectly (through or in conjunction with third parties), in entities, companies, organisations, that promote, broker, arrange or conduct betting.”

FIFA’s Code applies to all of its competitions, even World Cup qualifiers, which means that Zlatan violated its rules when he made his return to the Swedish national football team’s match versus Georgia in March 2021.

UEFA’s rules also apply to all of the organization’s games, meaning that by participating in the AC Milan Europa League game against the Shamrock Rovers in September 2020 — Ibrahimović also breached UEFA rules.

As a result of breaching FIFA’s regulations, Ibrahimović potentially faces fines of up to 1 million SEK, as well as a maximum of three years suspension from all football-related activity.

The Swedish Football Association’s general secretary Håkan Sjöstrand revealed that the association has been aware of this potential conflict of interest for some time now.

Sjöstrand also admitted that Zlatan’s problematic part-ownership of betting company Bethard was not discussed when the player was making his return to the Swedish national team.

Zlatan Signed On with Bethard.com in March 2018

The former FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain football star Zlatan Ibrahimović commenced his ambassadorial and development role with Swedish betting operator Bethard all the way back in March 2018.

The international football star made a point to emphasize how he had rejected working with a number of other betting firms in the past before committing to Bethard:

“I have obviously been intensively courted by betting companies throughout my career, but up until now I have not been presented to anything that has triggered me. With Bethard, there was something different. It’s a company with Swedish roots, the founders are from my home town and they are true challengers who really want to do things differently.”Zlatan Ibrahimović, Professional Football Player

The betting agency Bethard.com is currently based in Malta and holds a license to operate in the UK, with the company actively seeking licenses in other European markets and jurisdictions ever since Ibrahimović signed on in early 2018.

Erik Skarp, co-founder and chief executive of Bethard Group, expressed the excitement surrounding Zlatan’s decision to join the group in a press statement from the same period:

“We have taken a bold decision to start building a next generation sports betting brand and we are of course super excited to welcome Zlatan onboard. This move marks the starting signal for us. We have taken a bold decision to start building a next generation sports betting brand and we are of course super excited to welcome Zlatan onboard.”Erik Skarp, Co-found and Chief Executive, Bethard Group

Bethard Postponed Launch Over Fears of Breaching FA Rules

Just as the news of international football star Zlatan Ibrahimović joining betting agency Bethard Group as a brand ambassador and co-owner was about to be revealed, the recently established betting firm postponed its launch over fears it could be breaching English Football Association (FA) rules.

British newspaper The Telegraph reported that the English FA was made aware of the planned event announcing Ibrahimović’s role in the company, causing Bethard to delay the event while it gathered more information concerning rules on football players in England promoting gambling.

As it turned out, FA rules state that players at English clubs are banned from betting on football events anywhere in the world. Ibrahimović played for English Premier League team Manchester United at the time.

Furthermore, FA regulations also state that “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.”

UEFA Nations League Kicked Off in September 2020, Despite Covid

In related news, the UEFA Nations League managed to kick off in September 2020 despite complications posed by the global spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The league’s new format sees teams being separated into four divisions, with the three highest divisions being further divided into four sub-groups, each of which is made up of four teams. 

Within these sub-groups, each team will play every other team both at home and away, making the format quite similar to the Champions League group stages.

The winning teams within their respective groups in League A will then go on to play in the tournament finals, which are currently scheduled to take place towards the end of 2021, likely in either September or October. 

This stage of the Nations League was initially supposed to take place in June 2021 but had to be pushed back due to restrictions imposed to combat the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Have you enjoyed this article? Then share it with your friends.
Share on Pinterest
A football or soccer ball on fire.

Similar Posts