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24th Nov 2020

Zlatan Ibrahimović objects to use of his likeness in FIFA 21

Zlatan Ibrahimović has tweeted his objection to EA Sports' use of his likeness in the FIFA 21 video game, receiving support from Gareth Bale

Reuben Pinder

What’s this all about then?

Zlatan Ibrahimović has publicly declared his objection to the use of his likeness by EA Sports on the FIFA 21 video game.

Despite featuring on the game franchise for almost two decades, the AC Milan striker tweeted last night: “I am not aware to be a member of FIFPro and if I am I was put there without any knowledge through some weird manoeuvre.

“And for sure I never allowed FIFA or FIFpro to make money using me.”

Ibrahimović then added: “Time to investigate” in a second tweet.

He received public support from on-loan Spurs forward Gareth Bale, who tagged Ibrahimović in a tweet, hashtaging ‘time to investigate’.

So why are two of the world’s most famous and successful players suddenly objecting to featuring in a game that has been around for years? One that Bale featured on the cover on in 2013 no less.

As reported by the Mirror, the root of this dispute centres around Fifpro, the international players’ union, and their backing of agent reforms. Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett and Ibrahimović’s agent Mino Raiola are understood to oppose the proposed reforms.

The reforms were presented by FIFA at the start of this year, with the governing body publishing a statement saying:

“The Football Stakeholders Committee and the FIFA Council unanimously endorsed last year a series of reform proposals concerning football agents with the aim to protect the integrity of football and prevent abuses.

“These measures were the result of an extensive consultation process with stakeholders (players, clubs, leagues and member associations), as well as agents who were invited to several consultation meetings.

“The overarching objective here is to improve transparency, protect player welfare, enhance contractual stability and also raise professional and ethical standards.

“In other words, to eliminate or at least reduce the abusive and excessive practices which unfortunately have existed in football.”

Several of the game’s most powerful agents, including Jorge Mendes and the aforementioned Raiola and Barnett were reported to be angered by the proposals.

Barnett publicly declared: “We want fairness, FIFA should recognise us and treat us in a proper manner.

“The truth is FIFA doesn’t know exactly what an agent does. No-one from FIFA has ever been to my office or had a conversation with me.

“If you ask players what they want, they are in favour of agents. There are never complaints about agents’ fees from players.

“We will try until the last minute to resolve the problem but rest assured, if necessary we will go to every court in the world.”

An EA spokesperson told Mirror Football: “EA SPORTS FIFA is the world’s leading football video game, and to create an authentic experience year after year we work with numerous leagues, teams and individual talent to secure the rights of player likeness to include in our game.

“One of those is a long-standing relationship with the global representative of professional football players, FIFPro, who partner with a number of licensors to negotiate deals that benefit the players and their unions.”