UEFA is due to launch an investigation into the ongoing partnership between footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and online betting operator BetHard.
The European football governing party has announced that an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to lead the investigation into the Swedish player, to assess whether his collaboration with BetHard violates codes of ethics.
The AC Milan striker’s ‘alleged financial interest in a betting company’ may be in violation of FIFA’s Code of Ethics, which state that player’s cannot hold stakes in entities or companies that “promote, broker, arrange or conduct betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions connected with football matches and competitions”.
It was reported earlier this month by Swedish outlet Aftonbladet that the striker’s company is the fourth largest investor, amounting to a total share of 10%, in the online sportsbook operator, which reported profits before tax of £25.76 million profit after tax in 2019.
UEFA and FIFA both announced at the time that separate official investigations could be launched, and if found guilty of violating the ethical codes of both organisations, the 39 year-old could face a three-year ban from the sport in addition to a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs, according to Reuters.
A UEFA statement read: “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 is due to play for AC Milan in the Serie A for another year – first began to cooperate with BetHard as a global brand ambassador in March 2018 whilst on the Manchester United roster, prompting an official investigation by the Football Association (FA).
In a similar fashion to both FIFA and UEFA, the English governing body’s rules prohibit player’s from promoting, consulting with or being involved with betting operators in any capacity.
Additionally, the partnership has allegedly been under investigation by the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) for around three years.
The striker featured in Sweden’s national team for last month’s World Cup qualifiers and also played for AC Milan in UEFA Europa League matches this season, his first appearance in international fixtures since the 2016 European Championship.