The ongoing relationship between footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and online betting operator BetHard is set to be investigated by UEFA.
The European Football Association has announced the appointment of an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector to lead the investigation into the Swedish player, in order to determine if his collaboration with BetHard breaches ethical codes.
The AC Milan striker’s potential financial involvement in a betting business may be a breach of FIFA’s Code of Ethics, which states that players cannot have stakes in organisations or companies that “promote, broker, arrange, or conduct betting, gambling, lotteries, or similar events or transactions connected with football matches and competitions.”
The striker’s company is the fourth largest investor in the online sportsbook operator, according to Swedish outlet Aftonbladet, with a total share of 10 percent. The online sportsbook operator posted income before tax of £25.76 million profit after tax in 2019.
Separate official investigations
According to Reuters, UEFA and FIFA both reported at the time that separate official investigations could be initiated, and if found guilty of breaching both organisations’ ethical codes, the 39-year-old could face a three-year suspension from the sport as well as a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs.
According to a statement issued by UEFA: “In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR), a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has today been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding a potential violation by Zlatan Ibrahimovic for having an alleged financial interest in a betting company. Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course.”
Ibrahimovic, who has a year left on his contract with AC Milan in Serie A, started working with BetHard as a global brand ambassador in March 2018 while still on the Manchester United roster, sparking an official investigation by the Football Association (FA).
The English governing body’s rules forbid players from endorsing, consulting with, or being associated with betting operators in any capacity, similar to FIFA and UEFA.
Furthermore, the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) is said to have been investigating the relationship for the past three years.
The striker represented Sweden in World Cup qualifiers last month and also played for AC Milan in UEFA Europa League matches this season, his first international appearance since the 2016 European Championship.