Emerging reports suggest that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be hit with a three-year ban from FIFA for his alleged role in a sports betting company.
A full investigation has now been launched into the matter by UEFA after Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet Bild made claims that the veteran forward was part-owner of a gambling website based in Malta known as Bethard.
“In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has today been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding a potential violation of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations by Mr. Zlatan Ibrahimovic for having an alleged financial interest in a betting company,” UEFA said in a statement.
“Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course.”
Meanwhile, the forward, who recently extended his contract with AC Milan is yet to make any comment on the matter. It must be noted that the FIFA code of ethics does not allow for professional players to get involved in any form of betting. It states thus:
“They (the players) are forbidden from participating in, either directly or indirectly, betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions related to football matches or competitions and/or any related football activities,” the rules read.
“They shall not have any interests, either directly or indirectly (through or in conjunction with third parties), in entities, companies, organisations, etc. that promote, broker, arrange or conduct betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions connected with football matches and competitions.
“‘Interests’ include gaining any possible advantage for the persons bound by the Code themselves and/or related parties.”
Ibrahimovic has found the back of the net 17 times in all competitions this season and recently received a recall to the Swedish national team for the World Cup qualifiers after he retired from international duty five years ago.
If he is found guilty of the charges and hit with a three-year ban by football’s governing body FIFA, then it’s the end of his footballing career and this will be a hit to the player’s image in the game.