Zlatan Ibrahimovic is facing a three-year ban for investing in a Malta-based betting company, which could bring the footballer’s career to a premature and abrupt end as a result of the ban dangling on his head.
According to Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, Ibrahimovic owns ten per cent of Bethard, a gambling company with offices in Malta, through his business Unknown AB.
Both FIFA and UEFA do not let players have financial interests in gambling companies.
FIFA’s ethical rules say that anyone who violates them faces a fine and a ban from all football activities for a maximum of three years.
Report said the Swedish FA were aware of the problem and it’s the reason the player didn’t feature in the 2018 World Cup.
Ibrahimovic had already retired from international football in 2016 but made his return ahead of this summer’s Euros.
Reports added that his company is the fourth largest shareholder in Bethard and it made a profit after tax of £25.79m in 2019 alone.
He was announced as a co-owner and ambassador for the brand three years ago.
Ibrahimovic said at the time: “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 wants to do things differently.”
Reacting to the development, Swedish FA general secretary Hakan Sjjstrand said this week: “I do not speculate on possible sanctions.
“But of course continue to push for clarity in Fifa’s regulations as there is frankly a lot of ambiguity in how it should be interpreted.”
Also, Bethard CEO, Erik Sharp in an email quoted by the UK Sun said: “These are questions that should be asked to FIFA.
“We have an agreement with Zlatan that we follow and if problems arise, we will handle it together with him.”
Neither Ibrahimovic nor his representatives have commented on the issue as at the time of this reporting.
However, the Sun reported FIFA’s ethical rules state that anyone who violates the rules faces a fine and a ban from all football-related activities for a maximum of three years.
The striker is still expected to play for Sweden at Euro 2020 this summer, but now there is much uncertainty on Ibrahimovic’s future.