Football

FIFA 21: why is there controversy between Ibrahimovic, EA Sports and FIFPro?

FIFPro and EA Sports have released statements responding to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's recent claims over the usage of his likeness in FIFA 21.

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FIFA 21: why is there controversy between Ibrahimovic, EA Sports and FIFPro?
CIRO DE LUCA REUTERS

FIFPro and EA Sports have released statements addressing Zlatan Ibrahimovic's recent claims over the usage of his likeness in FIFA 21. The experienced footballer called out both FIFPro and EA Sports on Twitter, claiming 'other parties' have been making money from his name and face. The AC Milan forward stated that EA did not seek his permission, and because he wasn’t a member of FIFPro, he wasn’t covered by their license.

The Swedish veteran said it is "time to investigate". "Who gave FIFA EA Sport permission to use my name and face? @FIFPro?," he wrote on Twitter.

Ibrahimovic's agent, Mino Raiola, then got involved on Thursday, telling The Telegraph that 300 other players are ready to get involved. FIFPro told The Mirror in a firm statement. "In light of recent media reports, FIFPro wishes to clarify the manner in which it obtains the image rights of players, and its role in defending the employment rights of professional footballers worldwide.

"FIFPro, a not-for-profit organisation, acquires image rights via player unions in nearly 60 countries. These rights are made available to Electronic Arts and other clients in the video gaming industry.

"FIFPro's relationship with the video gaming companies complements separate arrangements they directly agree with clubs, leagues, governing bodies and individual players.

"FIFPro member unions decide how best to use the revenue generated, either by distributing funds directly among players or providing services in kind such as legal advice, second-career planning and mental and physical assistance.

"FIFPro is reaching out to the players and their representation that have recently raised concerns so we can address their questions.

"As the covid-19 pandemic severely impacts the football industry, we are proud of our member unions for having supported tens of thousands of footballers around the world."

Not an issue for EA Sports

"The licensing arguments being played out in social media for effect are not an issue for EA or EA Sports. This is between FIFPro, the players within their association, and their representatives. FIFPro has told us this is their issue, and they’re handling it — we expect a statement to that effect imminently," developers told Forbes.

"This isn’t our fight. This isn’t about EA Sports or video games, players or fans. It’s a battle between football agents and FIFPro."

EA Sports features Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland heavily in the marketing campaign for FIFA 21. "Mino Raiola is a respected player representative who we have partnered with for many years, including this year when our relationship ensured his client Erling Haaland would be part of our FIFA 21 marketing campaign. We have also enjoyed a great working relationship with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has appeared in every FIFA since 2002 and regularly received awards as part of our FUT experience."

Bale questions use of image

Gareth Bale also voiced concern alongside Ibrahimovic on his social media. EA Sports believe Bale's eSports team 'Company Elleven' use FIFA as a 'key platform' and want to keep that relationship. "Gareth Bale's eSports Company Elleven utilises our FIFA game as a key platform for his professional eSports athletes and we're confident Gareth and his team see significant value in our partnership, as evidenced through this recently released content."