According to news from his native Sweden, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future is in jeopardy, as he could face a three-year ban as a result of his relationship with a Malta-based betting firm.
According to an article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Ibrahimovic’s Stockholm-based business Unknown AB owns 10% of the shares in Bethard, a gambling platform with offices in Malta.
The Swedish Football Association has been aware of the issue for three years, according to the article, and it is the reason Ibrahimovic was left out of Sweden’s World Cup squad.
As the issue is being closely monitored by both FIFA and UEFA, his presence in the business could result in a three-year ban or a hefty fine.
FIFA and UEFA do not encourage players to have financial ties to gambling firms when competing in their competitions.
According to the report, Ibrahimovic’s company is Bethard’s fourth-largest owner, with a profit after tax of £25.79 million in 2019, according to the most recently available annual report.
Ibrahimovic may have broken FIFA rules during a World Cup qualifier against Georgia in March and a Europa League qualifier against Shamrock Rovers in September 2020, according to the study.
‘I have certainly been intensively courted by betting companies throughout my career, but up until now I have not been confronted with something that has activated me,’ he said when he was named as an ambassador and co-owner of Bethard in 2018.
‘There was something distinctive about Bethard. It’s a Swedish business, and the founders are from my hometown. They’re true trailblazers who want to do things differently.’
FIFA’s ethical laws specify that anyone who violates them faces a fine and a potential ban from all football-related activities for up to three years, although UEFA’s guidelines are less explicit.