One of the best soccer players on the planet is in hot water with prominent governing bodies of the sport because of his investment in a Malta-based online gambling company.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a 39-year-old Swedish striker that has had one of the most decorated careers in soccer history, is facing a three-year ban from the sport for owning 10% of Bethard, an online gambling site.
Ibrahimovic owns the shares of Bethard through his company, Uknown AB. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the company is located in Stockholm and described as part of the Business Services Sector Industry. It only lists one employee and generated $9.17 million in sales in 2020. Ibrahmiovic’s company is the fourth largest stakeowner of the site.
Now, the Federation of Interational Football Association (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) are considering punishing the Swede. Given Ibrahimovic’s age, a three-year ban from soccer would effectively end his professional career.
According to a Swedish newspaper, FIFA is looking into a three-year ban, but UEFA has yet to announce any plans of what its punishment may be.
Ibrahimovic already played more than two decades of professional soccer with stints at powerhouses Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. He signed a deal with AC Milan in 2020 and made 35 appearances with the Italian club so far.
He played for the Swedish national team at the 2002, 2006 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 UEFA European Championships. He is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Swedish national team.
But players who participate in FIFA or UEFA sanctioned events are not allowed to financial interests in gambling companies. However, Ibrahimovic did not hide his financial interests in the company and there were no sanctions for the next three years. In 2018, he was announced as an ambassador the company and voiced his support for the company.