Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is reportedly in danger of facing a potential three-year ban from football. The ban may bring his career to an abrupt end and would force him into early retirement. Ibrahimovic is said to have his shares in a gambling company with offices n Malta. His Stockholm-based company Unknown AB owns 10 percent of the shares of Bethard, a gambling site.
Neither FIFA nor UEFA allows players who feature in their competitions to have financial interests in gambling companies. The Sun and The Daily Mail cite Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet as reporting that Zlatan could be in trouble for investing in a Malta-based betting company.
The story originally came to light in 2018 when Swedish Football Association have been aware of the issue and this is the reason why he wasn’t seen in the 2018 World Cup.
Swedish Football Association general secretary Hakan Sjostrand said: “According to FIFA’s regulations and code of ethics, no player may directly or indirectly own shares in betting companies. I stick to the facts and can only account for what applies to all nations and players who will participate in the World Cup.”
The Sun claims 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.
Zlatan, who joined Sweden team this March after retiring from international football in 2016, was first announced as an ambassador and co-owner of Bethard in 2018. Zlatan spoke on the three-year ban: “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.”
Meanwhile, Hakan 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.”