Zlatan Ibrahimović’s agent left a radio phone-in after getting into a dispute about Ibrahimovic’s image rights in FIFA 21.
FIFA has long used officially licensed player likeness within its games, but last week Ibrahimovic questioned why such a thing is allowed. “Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years,” the AC Milan striker tweeted.
Since then, Spurs winger Gareth Bale responded to Ibrahimović’s tweet with “#TimeToInvestigate,” while Ibrahimović’s agent Mino Raiola published an article in The Telegraph claiming that “300 players shared his feelings”. EA then responded in an interview with Forbes that the issue was not with them, but with professional footballers’ union FIFPro.
EA also claimed to have a good working relationship with Raiola, and that the agent had previously “ensured his client Erling Haaland would be part of our FIFA 21 marketing campaign”.
On Thursday (November 26) Raiola responded further by speaking to former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan on talkSPORT. The exchange got heated, and Raiola hung up.
💰 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗼𝗻: “This is about you wanting to get a commission.”
😡 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗼: “I don’t give a damn about what your opinion is.”
🤷♂️ 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗼𝗻: “You’re as troublesome to me as a cloudy day.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) November 26, 2020
“This is either about stopping using Zlatan’s image, or it’s about money,” Jordan said at one point in the conversation. “I suspect it’s about money.”
“It’s all about money,” Raiola said in response. “EA Sports is not a charity foundation… This is about money. This is about rights. This is about who can exploit whose rights. And it’s a principle. And why we don’t do things before or after is a call we will make and we don’t need to explain now.”
FIFPro maintains that it’s a “not-for-profit organisation.” In a statement released to several gaming sites, the organisation said the fees it receives for player licensing are evenly distributed to leagues who then “distribute funds directly among players or provide services in kind such as legal advice, second-career planning and mental and physical assistance”.
Back on talkSPORT, Jordan continued to press on the issue of money, suggesting Raiola was just “wanting to get a commission”. He also raised David Beckham’s $40million (£29.9million) deal to appear in FIFA over the next three years, a figure EA that has claimed is “sensationalised.”
With that, Raiola told him “I don’t give a damn what you think”, and promptly hung up.
For now, Ibrahimovic’s likeness remains in FIFA 21.