At least 300 players are prepared to join Zlatan Ibrahimovic in considering legal action over the use of their image in EA Sports’ FIFA series, claims agent Mino Raiola.
The AC Milan striker has threatened a huge row that could engulf the sport after he called out FIFPro and the FIFA video game series on Twitter on Monday night as he ordered an investigation into who permitted the game to use his name and face.
Gareth Bale soon tweeted his support of Ibrahimovic, and Raiola has claimed that this is ‘the beginning of something new’ and a ‘revolution to rewrite the system’.
Mino Raiola claims 300 players are ready to join Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his fight with EA Sports
Ibrahimovic has led a backlash against the use of his image on the latest FIFA game by EA
Raiola told The Telegraph: ‘It won’t just be Zlatan or Gareth Bale. We have around 300 requests from players. We will go until the end, if necessary, against Fifa and FifPro and everybody who sells rights they don’t have.
‘This is one of the biggest disgraces involving Fifa who want to weaken the players to become slaves. But I will not allow that. Zlatan is not a marionette; Zlatan is not someone you can tell to do something he doesn’t want to do.
‘The nice thing about this is that it is being brought by players. He is committed to the cause.
‘The question is very simple: Fifa and Fifpro are profiting from the rights that EA Sports happily buy from them but they buy rights that they don’t have.
‘The individual image rights of the player are not with Fifa, FifPro or AC Milan. They belong to the player himself.
‘If EA Sports wants to continue the business like they do we will bring them to court but not only that we will bring to court everyone who is selling the rights that they don’t have. So if that is Fifpro, that’s Fifpro. If that is Fifa, that’s Fifa.’
FIFA 21 hit the shops in October as the latest iteration of EA Sports’ flagship franchise
Raiola has claimed that this is ‘the beginning of something new’ and a ‘revolution to rewrite the system’
Ibrahimovic threatened a major row with the award-winning and hugely popular FIFA series when he tweeted this week: ‘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 manoeuvre. And for sure I never allowed 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.’
Tottenham star Bale also joined in the questioning, and responded saying: ‘@Ibra_official Interesting… what is FIFPro?#TimeToInvestigate.’
But the developers, EA Sports, insist that the 39-year-old striker’s issue lies with the union which represents around 65,000 players across the world, FIFPro, instead.
‘The licensing arguments being played out in social media for effect are not an issue for EA or EA Sports. This is between FIFPro, the players within their association, and their representatives,’ the developers told Forbes.
‘FIFPro has told us this is their issue, and they’re handling it — we expect a statement to that effect imminently.
‘This isn’t our fight. This isn’t about EA Sports or video games, players or fans. It’s a battle between football agents and FIFPro.’
EA claimed that they worked closely with Raiola to help market FIFA 21 by using one of his clients, Erling Haaland. They also say that have ‘enjoyed a great working relationship’ with Ibrahimovic.
In the summer AC Milan revealed a collaboration with EA Sports meaning gamers can play as the Serie A giants at the San Siro stadium.
EA Sports have defended their use of player likenesses and insist that they have the correct licenses to do so
‘We are delighted to welcome EA Sports to the AC Milan family as a Premium Partner. This partnership is symbolic of our commitment to delivering world class interactive experiences to our fans all over the world,’ AC Milan’s chief revenue officer Casper Stylsvig said.
‘As a market leader in the world of gaming, in EA Sports we have the perfect partner to help us continue on our journey of engaging and exciting the next generation of Rossoneri fans.’
Ibrahimovic is yet to respond to EA’s statement.
Kylian Mbappe is the cover star of the new FIFA game, the 28th of the long-running series