Ibrahimović’s Bethard Links Investigated
UEFA has launched an investigation into Zlatan Ibrahimović’s Links with Bethard. The Swede is alleged to hold a 10% share in the betting company, contriving the governing body’s rules on financial links with gambling firms.
The Union of European Football Associations, the governing body of European football, has begun an investigation into the former Manchester United player Zlatan Ibrahimović.
The Swede joined the Nordic sports betting company as a brand ambassador in March 2018, and reports allege that the player became a co-owner in the company and acquired 10% of Bethard’s shares in return for his work.
Reports in the Swedish press claim that Ibrahimović’s company Unknown AB holds the stake on his behalf, making the player the fourth-largest shareholder in Bethard.
Current UEFA regulations forbid any player with financial links with betting companies from participating in either the Champions League or the Europa League.
However, the AC Milan player has played in six games in UEFA competitions this season.
In September, the 39-year-old scored a goal and played the full ninety minutes in his team’s 2-0 win against Irish club Shamrock Rovers in a Europe League qualification game. He played in further games against Celtic, Sparta Prague (created a goal), Lille, FK Crvena Zvezda and against former club Manchester United in the knock-out round.
UEFA have since released a statement on the matter, confirming the investigation, stating:
“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 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations by Mr. Zlatan Ibrahimović for having an alleged financial interest in a betting company.
“Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course,” the statement concluded. Ibrahimović’s initial partnership with Bethard started when the player ended his relationship with Manchester United and joined MLS franchise LA Galaxy. As UEFA does not have jurisdiction over the American League, the player did not break any rules with his involvement with Bethard.
According to Aftonbladet, his subsequent move back to AC Milan meant his involvement with the company broke the rules of European competition, and that is why UEFA launched their probe. The player re-joined AC Milan in January 2020, a club he spent two years with at between 2010 and 2012.
When Ibrahimović agreed to become brand ambassador for Bethard, he said he had had offers from betting companies for many years. Still, he said he felt the offer from the company was different. Saying : “I have obviously been courted by betting companies throughout my career, but up until now I have not been presented with anything that has triggered me.
“With Bethard, there was something different as it’s a company with Swedish roots. The founders are from my home town and they are true challengers who really want to do things differently.”
Ibrahimović is considered one of the greats of European football. He has scored 396 goals and assisted over 110 times in a career that has spanned 608 games. He started his career in 1999 with Malmo FF and had playing stints with Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Milan (loan), Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, LA Galaxy and returned to Milan.
He has also represented Sweden on 188 occasions and scored 62 times for his country.