Truth behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gareth Bale’s social media claims over FIFA 21
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has taken aim at EA SPORTS, the makers of the FIFA gaming franchise, taking to social media with claims that they have used his likeness without permission.
FIFA 21 was released October 9, the latest game in the FIFA gaming franchise.
It features over 7,000 players, 700 teams, 90 stadiums and 30 leagues, with exclusive access to the world’s biggest competitions including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Copa Libertadores,Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and more.
However, despite appearing in versions of the game for the better part of two decades, in a tweet posted on Monday night, AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic accused EA SPORTS and Fifpro of using his name and face without permission.
"Who gave FIFA EA Sport permission to use my name and face? @FIFPro?" said Ibrahimovic.
"I’m not aware to be a member of Fifpro and if I am I was put there without any real knowledge through some weird manouver. And for sure I never allowed @FIFAcom or Fifpro to make money using me.
Ibrahimovic has taken aim
(Image: NurPhoto/PA Images)
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"Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years. Time to investigate."
Tottenham winger Gareth Bale promptly responded, again referencing Fifpro
"Interesting, what is FIFPro? #TimeToInvestigate" asked the Welshman, in a tweet posted an hour later, which Zlatan then retweeted.
Shortly after, Ibrahimovic's agent, Mino Raiola, also waded in on Twitter : "Hope we get the answer to our letters now @Ibra_official."
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Both Ibrahimovic and Bale, along with their names and likenesses, have both featured in numerous previous FIFA games.
Ibrahimovic, during his time at Manchester United, even posed with his FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Premier League Player of the Month card awarded in January 2017.
Former Real Madrid star Bale meanwhile featured on the UK, Ireland and Middle East cover of FIFA 14, pictured alongside Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic collecting his FUT 17 PL POTM award in January 2017.
Gareth Bale featured as a cover star for FIFA 14
In addition, EA SPORTS are currently the official video game partner of both Spurs and AC Milan, with both having entered into multi-year exclusive licensing agreements with EA SPORTS back in August for FIFA 21 and beyond, with the partnership including player, kit and stadium rights.
Additionally, while Bale had not yet joined Spurs then, veteran striker Ibrahimovic featured heavily in the promotional pictures that were released to announce Milan's agreement.
(Image: EA SPORTS FIFA)
The truth about this story, and the remarks made by Ibrahimovic and Bale, have more to do with Fifpro and their backing of agent reforms, with the player's respective agents – Raiola and Jonathan Barnett – in stern opposition of the FIFpro's reform proposals.
Those were unveiled by FIFA back in January, with football's governing body releasing a statement which declared: "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."
Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, has been very much against the reforms
(Image: Getty Images)
The statement from FIFA led to Raiola, Barnett, Jorge Mendes and other agents threatening legal action.
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.”
This story is less to do with Ibrahimovic, Bale and EA SPORTS, and more about the leading football agents' ongoing battle with FIFA and Fifpro over reform.
For their part, EA Sports are relaxed about the situation, an EA spokesperson telling 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."
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*FIFA 21 is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The next generation version of FIFA 21 is set to be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 on December 4, 2020.
Additionally, fans who jump into FIFA 21 can also benefit from Dual Entitlement, enabling them to upgrade their copy of the game from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S at no extra cost.