Zlatan Ibrahimovic could face a three-year ban – and possibly an untimely end to his football career – due to his partnership with a Malta-based betting company, according to reports from his native Sweden.
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet say that through his company Unknown AB, the Swedish striker and AC Milan Ibrahimovic owns 10 percent of the shares of Bethard, a gambling site with registered offices in Malta.
The report also details that the Swedish Football Association has been aware of the problem for three years and that is why the talismanic striker was not called up for the 2018 World Cup despite having stepped down. of international football in 2016 until his return last month. .
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could face a three-year football ban due to being a partner of a Malta-based betting company, according to reports in Sweden.
His stake in the company could earn him a three-year ban or a hefty fine, in a case that is being closely watched by FIFA and UEFA.
FIFA and UEFA do not allow players participating in their competitions to have financial interests in gambling companies.
The report adds that Ibrahimovic’s company is the fourth owner of Bethard, which according to the latest annual report available in 2019 made an after-tax profit of £ 25.79million.
He details that Ibrahimovic may have broken FIFA rules in the March World Cup qualifier against Georgia and in the Europa League qualifier against Shamrock Rovers in September 2020.
Ibrahimovic was announced as co-owner and ambassador of Bethard in 2018
Ibrahimovic was announced as Ambassador and Co-Owner of Bethard in 2018, and said: “I have obviously been intensely courted by betting companies throughout my career, but so far I have only been introduced to nothing that triggered me.
“With Bethard there was something different. It’s a company of Swedish origin, the founders are from my hometown and they are real challengers who really want to do things differently ”.
FIFA’s ethics regulations state that anyone who breaks its rules will be punished with a fine and possible suspension from all football-related activities for up to three years, while UEFA’s regulations are less clear in sanction matters.
Ibrahimovic will be 40 in October and would almost certainly be forced to retire if he were given the maximum three-year ban.
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet says through his company Unknown AB Ibrahimovic owns 10% stake in Bethard
When the story first came to light in March 2018, Swedish Football Association General Secretary Hakan Sjjstrand said: “According to FIFA’s regulations and code of ethics, no player can directly or indirectly own shares in betting companies.
“I am sticking to the facts and can only explain what applies to all the nations and all the players who will participate in the World Cup. “
Asked this week about Ibrahimovic’s return to the national team and therefore about a possible sanction in this case, Sjostrand said: “I am not speculating on possible sanctions.
“But of course keep pushing for clarity in Fifa rules because there is frankly a lot of ambiguity in how this is to be interpreted. ”
In an email, Bethard CEO Erik Sharp said: “These are questions that should be asked of FIFA.
“We have a deal with Zlatan that we are following and if any issues arise, we will deal with it with him. “
FIFA and UEFA declined to comment Aftonbladet, who also contacted Ibrahimovic’s representatives for comment. Sports messaging has contacted Ibrahimovic’s agent Mino Raiola for comment.
The news comes as the 39-year-old is set to extend his career for a year, with a new contract at AC Milan until June 2022 likely to be signed in the coming days.
Ibrahimovic was also in hot water this week after images of an alleged Covid-19 violation at a Lombardy restaurant emerged, although those around him say it was a ‘business meeting’ .