Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s career is at risk as he could face a three-year ban because of his partnership with a Malta-based betting company, according to reports coming out of his native Sweden.
The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in a report claimed that Ibrahimovic’s Stockholm-based company Unknown AB owns 10 percent of the shares of Bethard, a gambling site with offices in Malta.
The report also details that the Swedish Football Association have been aware of the problem for three years and it is the reason why Ibrahimovic was left out of Sweden’s squad for the 2018 World Cup.
His participation in the company could reportedly land him with a three-year ban or a hefty fine, as the issue is being closely followed by both FIFA and UEFA.
FIFA and UEFA do not allow players participating in their competitions to have financial interests in gambling companies.
The report adds that Ibrahimovic’s company is the fourth-largest owner in Bethard, which according to the latest available annual report in 2019 made a profit after tax of £25.79m.
It details that Ibrahimovic may have violated FIFA’s rules during March’s World Cup qualifier against Georgia and in the Europa League qualifier against Shamrock Rovers in September 2020.
Upon being announced as an ambassador and co-owner of Bethard in 2018, he said: ‘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’.
FIFA’s ethical regulations state that anyone who violates their rules will be punished by a fine and a possible suspension from all football-related activities for a maximum of three years, while UEFA’s regulations are less clear when it comes to punishment.
The news story comes as the 39-year-old is set to extend his career by another year, with a new contract at AC Milan until June 2022.