In Brief

Zlatan vs. EA Sports: image rights row breaks out over Fifa video game

Milan striker and Spurs star Gareth Bale call for an investigation

An image rights row is brewing after a number of top football players questioned the use of their likenesses in the popular video game Fifa.

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic says it’s “time to investigate” who gave permission for his “name and face” to be used in the game, which is published by EA Sports.

Released in October, Fifa 21, the 28th edition of the game, is estimated to have sold more than 300 million copies. It features more than 7,000 players, 700 teams, 90 stadiums and 30 leagues, The Guardian reports. 

According to the paper the worldwide players’ union FIFPro has a “mandate to sell name and likeness rights on behalf of every player from a member nation, although Premier League clubs sell all their video game licensing rights collectively”.

Ibrahimovic insists he’s not a member of FIFPro and does not believe profit should be made from the use of his image.

Writing on Twitter, the 39-year-old former Manchester United forward said: “Who gave Fifa EA Sport permission to use my name and face? @FIFPro? I’m not aware to be a member of Fifpro and if I am I was put there without any real knowledge through some weird manouver [sic]. 

“And for sure I never allowed @FIFAcom or Fifpro to make money using me. Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years. Time to investigate.”

Responding to Ibrahimovic’s tweet, Tottenham Hotspur and Wales star Gareth Bale also called for an investigation. And a source close to Bale claimed many other players and agents from around the world are seeking legal advice, BBC Sport reports.

EA Sports says it has “contractual rights to include the likeness of all players currently in our game”.

In a statement to BBC Sport Wales, the company said: “We are aware of discussions around licensing of players in EA Sports Fifa. The current situation being played out on social media is an attempt to draw Fifa 21 into a dispute between a number of third parties and has little to do with EA Sports.”

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